The initial press release states that keyboardist Carolyn Hume and drummer Paul May are “two young improvisers” - and that’s about it. And while this somewhat laid back and mood evoking release titled, Zero might represent an unusual twist for the normally free-spirited and modern jazz/improv based “Leo Records” label, the musicians do indeed improvise yet most of these pieces seem structured or pre-planned. Perhaps the real hero here is drummer Paul May, thanks in part to his disciplined and generally sweeping maneuvers as he often provides a very expansive rhythmic foundation for Ms. Hume’s well-placed chords, which is evident on the albums opener, “Pet Moth”. Bassist Neil May and clarinetist Duke Garwood lend some assistance on two tracks yet it is Ms. Hume’s softly stated melodic and at times, new age-like inventions that directs the tone of the overall recording. Many of these pieces offer cyclic rhythms and ethereal dreamscapes often instituted and executed in climactic fashion. The composition titled, “Smell The Joy” boasts a bouncy pulse yet the duo are in no great rush to accelerate the pace or reverse their combined strategies. - However, clarinetist Duke Garwood’s pensive ruminations on “Black Clouds” alters or diffuses the continuum of the proceedings. Essentially, Zero proposes an upbeat outlook via articulately stated melodies and airy themes as Carolyn Hume and Paul May have quite a bit to say, yet pursue a methodical and somewhat systematic course that in some instances can become quite hypnotic and enchanting.
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Carolyn Hume: Piano/Keyboards & Tenor Recorder: Paul May; Drums: On selected tracks: Duke Garwood; Clarinet: Neil May; Bass: