Pianist Joe Parillo has joined with classical cellist Christine Harrington for a session of Parillo's original material. Much is made in the promotional material about the confluence of jazz and classical, when in fact there isn't must confluence at all. Improvisation is the heart and soul of jazz, while one does not tinker much with a work by Beethoven. There are attempts made, on such cuts as the appropriately named "Manic," to create that tension associated with a jazz piece. The music is very intense, and one can imagine Harrington leaning over her cello matching Parillo's drive on the piano. But try as hard as they may, a middle ground between jazz and classical music is very hard to strike because one is so inherently different from the other. Once unrealistic expectations are discarded about the uniting of jazz and classical, this becomes a very entertaining album. Parillo's compositions are highly melodic and both musicians are masters at their instruments. The music promotes relaxation and meditation, such as the rippling water sensation and lilting playing, mostly by Parillo, on "Waltz + 1." The title tune, "Sand Box," is one of those stream-of-consciousness pieces that moves on with no pause from one set of musical ideas to another. This might be subtitled "Sonata for Piano and Cello in One Movement." These two fine musicians will have to develop more diversity in their music and the way they play to avoid being the background for dinner or for reading, if that's what they want. Maybe background, when the music is as lovely as this, isn't all that bad.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan