Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Music Muse Day - Bill Evans & Jim Hall, Benny Green & Russell Malone

Welcome to another Sunday Music Muse Day.  This week's theme is jazz piano-guitar duos. First up is a classic date by two jazz legends on their respective instruments, Bill Evans & Jim Hall Undercurrent, recorded in 1962.  Undercurrent was followed up with a second duet album, Intermodulation in 1966.  A quote from a editorial review notes: "Duet albums were rare in 1962 and encounters of this quality are still rare. Bill Evans and Jim Hall, two modern jazz giants, were in peak creative form at the time, Evans leading his own trio and Hall working with Sonny Rollins's quartet at the time."  One listen is all it takes to totally agree. Of the added alternate takes on the CD, I actually prefer the alternate of My Happy Valentine to the one on the original LP release.

The second duet is Benny Green & Russell Malone Birdbird record in 2004, that makes it a 52 year difference from the Evans/Hall date, the beauty of jazz is the continuity of the tradition.  Their set is not as introspective as the Evans/Hall duet, as a Jazztimes review noted, "Pianist Benny Green and guitarist Russell Malone are contemporary jazz musicians in the best sense of the term; great musicians whose repertoire includes blues, soul, pop, bop, Afro-Latin and even hip-hop." So, this CD is a much more lively affair, and a good contrast to this Evan/Hall duet.

Both selections are good to enjoy on this cold, almost spring afternoon.

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