Jan 27 2015
The most compelling aspect of Duets is the way saxophonist Tara Davidson is able to corral six different duo collaborations, each with their own distinct personality, into a cohesive presentation, while still allowing each of the personalities to fully display their individual traits.
The congenial warmth elicited from the three duets with pianist David Braid offers up the brightest spots on this bright album. Each is a lively conversation delivered with a casual ease. Sharp melodicism is enhanced with the occasional burst of effusiveness and state of elegance.
Some real intriguing dialog is established with guitarist David Occhipinti. Sometimes quirky, sometimes aggressive, sometimes harmonious… and all bundled up nicely.
Two different tenor saxophonists join Davidson on this session. It’s more than a little fun to follow the woven pattern of intertwining lines on her tuneful duets with Trevor Hogg, whereas her duets with Mike Murley is all about the back-and-forth of witty dialog.
When Andrew Downing is on cello, the song just bubbles with personality, sounding both mysterious and benevolent. And when Downing switches to acoustic bass, it’s a dance and its motion is simply riveting.
The only real weak spot on the album is the syrupy “For Glenda,” the first duet with pianist Laila Biali. However, this duet also produces, arguably, the album’s strongest track. “The Good Earth” has a sublime touch, the kind of solemn, delightful music meant for peaceful Sunday mornings when a comforting hush settles in over the city. That it grows from this state into one that dramatically blooms is an even greater reward.
Just a real personable album, and one that I’m happy to recommend.
Your album personnel: Tara Davidson (alto & soprano saxes), Mike Murley (tenor sax), Trevor Hogg (tenor sax), David Occhipinti (guitar), Andrew Downing (cello, acoustic bass), David Braid (piano) and Laila Biali (piano).
Released on Addo Records.
Jazz from the Toronto, Canada scene.