****RINGER OF THE WEEK****Jeff Colella & Putter Smith: Lotus Blossom

I’m a sucker for duet recordings; always have been and always will be. Lonnie Johnson with Eddie Lang, Evans, Pat Metheny with Charlie Haden or Ken Peplowski with Howard Alden-gotta love them all. Here’s a recent one that you’re gonna keep going back to time and time again: Angelenos Putter Smith/b and Jeff Colella/p get together for an intimate collection of subdued modern pieces, covering the waterfront of tasteful impressionistic jazz.

Original material such as Smith’s evocative  “Desert Passes” or Colella’s lovingly reflective “Gone Too Soon” have a graceful ambience that doesn’t detract from the gentle swing delivered by the four hands, while Miles Davis’ “All Blues” is toyed with by the bassist as the groove simmers like grayed charcoal briquettes in a Weber grill. Bill Evans’ spirit is considered not only on this piece, but on his own “Time Remembered” and “You Must Believe In Spring” which mixes the bespeckled master’s touch of romanticism but with an added hopeful and joyful quality that uplifts the pieces. Another surprise is a tune by LA-based guitarist Larry Koonse, who’s “Candle” creates a glorious mood as the piano and bass evoke images of light, flickering against wick and wax. Music making at its most vulnerable, exposed and inspiring is well exhibited here. Dig in.

The American Jazz Institute




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