Sunday, March 2, 2008

Helzer/Stowell: Friendship and remembrance

Circumvention hit the spot with another smooth album. Rick Helzer plays piano and John Stowell guitar (though unless you knew that already, the information is not on the sleeve), and have been doing so for some time - and the duo is based on a 25 year friendship. Friendship and remembrance 051) is, on the whole this is one of those late night ease back and relax albums - the guitar and piano lay down grooves that intertwine with each other, giving the space for each other to shine in the foregrounded solos. Both instrumentalists are skilled players and this shines in the melodic and contemplative nature of these pieces. The mood changes, however, to add variation and depth: And now, back to reality is a much brighter, faster piece, as is For the real composer in the house; while Hiro's hideaway is a guitar solo. Desert rest stop breaks away from the others, opening with soft bass and strange percussion, pizzicato piano, odd rhythms, a leaning to atonality, possibly prepared strings and an altogether more imagistic approach, which demonstrates another avenue these two could have explored. Another really enjoyable album from this label.

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