Andy Milne, piano + Grégoire Maret, harmonica – Scenarios – ObliqSound

by | Nov 16, 2007 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Andy Milne, piano + Grégoire Maret, harmonica –  Scenarios – ObliqSound LC12269, 46:48  ****:

(with guests Anne Drummond – alto flute on tr. 10; Gretchen Parlato, vocals on tr. 11)

I’ve always had a penchant for unusual instruments in jazz – both those unsually heard only in symphony orchestras and those like the harmonica and accordion, not heard normally in either jazz or the symphonic setting. This is a very pleasant duo outing for the most part, similar to other efforts recently for sax and piano, clarinet and piano, and guitar and piano. Maret is a whiz at the tiny reed instrument, and eventually one forgets that these rich sounds are coming from this unassuming little almost-toy instrument.

Five of the 11 tracks are originals penned by the duo themselves. The two standouts from other sources are a gorgeous version of Dizzy’s glorious Con Alma, and a closing vocal version of Mancini-Mercer’s Moon River, with dreamily overdubbed voices by guest  vocalist Gretchen Parlato. A few of the tracks bring in some synthesizer or perhaps tape-music effects which are not identified on the sleeve notes.  One of the most effective is the trippy Steps from Body to Soul.  The record label’s name is perfect – this is rather oblique music at that. And a wonderful CD for driving music – I can turn up the rear surround level on my CircleSurround processor to make it sound like a hip passenger is in my back seat wailing on his harp…

TrackList: Headache in Residence, Pharos of Alexandria, As Far As We Know, Con Alma, Follow Me, House of Fisher, Couch Talk, Steps From Body to Soul, Intersections, Crystal Labyrinth, Moon River.

 – John Henry

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