|An untroubled spirit of creative play lives in the tracks of Twotet/Deuxtet, this first duo recording from pianist Braid and cellist Brubeck.
As they effortlessly sail through the very present "Huevos Verdes y Jamon" (going by the title, this is a Hispanic Dr. Seuss song), and as their mood later changes in the slow pensive unfurling of "mnemosyne's march" a tribute to the goddess of memory we quickly appreciate the overall optimism as well as the sympatico and confidence that underlies this duo's music.
"sniffin' around" opens with a brisk, solo blues pizzicato cello. Then as Brubeck's perky line merges with a unison piano and develops into a jazz solo, it next engages in a series of wistful 'written-out' interludes and unison passages that characteristically occur throughout many of their solid compositions.
But enough can't be said about the mobility of their lean musical conception, for it serves the expression of their musical personalities at one moment the cello's stomping bluesy assertions are met with Braid's 'running piano' ("the return of dr. spookulus"); "it's not what it was", with its piano-led 'moonlight sonata' mood, is deepened in meaning by Brubeck's throaty cello and Braid's inspired playing as they reflect back on the past in mutual acceptance and understanding; and the concluding track, "spirit dance", with its cheery Asian whole tones, soon interplays with the mourning of Eastern European and Mediterranean sounds.
Brubeck and Braid express their personalities honestly and clearly through their critically-praised 'stylistic diversity' but put more simply, we can say they swing, they can be precise, and they never play sad and corny.
The dust of yesterday has not settled on these creative players nor on their mostly happy, well-structured, melodious and clear-headed music.
by David Fujino March 2008