Oliver Gannon & Miles Black – Broadway – Cellar Live

Oliver Gannon & Miles Black – Broadway – Cellar Live CL011214, 56:04 ****:

(Oliver Gannon – guitar; Miles Black – piano)

The piano/guitar construct is not a standard jazz offering. It requires a certain symmetry between the players and a sharing of conception and an unimpeded sense of structure. This was evident in the Bill Evans/Jim Hall albums Undercurrent and Intermodulation. Here guitarist Oliver Gannon and pianist Miles Black re-imagine the concept with sparking results in their release entitled Broadway.

Both Gannon and Black are players with strong technique and are smart, resourceful soloists. They have had a long-standing working relationship thus understand each other musically. Relying entirely on compositions that are well-known within the standard American Songbook repetoire, they have established frameworks within which to look for interpretative meaning.

Starting with “I Remember You” the duo show their cool expertise, as they navigate through the theme at an up-tempo pace that is in contrast to the standard interpretation, but seems to fit the bill. Antonio Carlos Jobim penned the lovely “Triste” which is filled with a mutually dependent interaction between Gannon and Black adding to the lustre of the tune. “Easy Living” is just that. Taken at a leisurely pace, it is played with a poetic attitude fully in keeping with composition.

The Rogers & Hart number “Have You Met Miss Jones” is a buoyant confection full of probing rapport that is sharply calibrated to blend the colour and texture of the composition. Both Gannon and Black cook in their own inimitable way. Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington wrote “The Nearness Of You” in 1938 but the first big-selling version was by The Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1940 featuring Ray Eberle on vocal. Gannon and Black play it as a ballad at a somewhat slower pace than normal, so as to take advantage of the musical harmony that exists in the composition. Finally the title track “Broadway” closes out the session. It is a perfect flag-waver as it captures the remarkable expressiveness that exists between Gannon and Black. This  release is a delightful collaboration between two  sparkling players.

TrackList: I Remember You; Triste; My Funny Valentine; I Want To Be Happy; Easy Living; You And The Night And The Music; Have You Met Miss Jones; Nature Boy; The Nearness Of You; Broadway

—Pierre Giroux

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