David Friesen

With You in Mind

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Owen Cordle suggests in the liner notes that this album reminds him of a couple of classic recordings by the late pianist Bill Evans. As with Evans, there is an introspective element, an elegant gracefulness that exudes loveliness. At its best, there are relaxing qualities at work that absorb creative harmonies producing something of beauty. At times, though, some of the music seems a bit pedestrian, and as was occasionally the case even with Evans, the sameness of approach can be somewhat bland and tedious. David Friesen's rich, full tone comforts through its majesty, his consistently high level of performance a continual pleasure. Gary Versace is a less-compelling performer, not as distinguished or as inventive, though he, too, is capable of flowing, inspirational lines. The standards "All or Nothing at All" and "You and the Night and the Music," although having been played elsewhere to exhaustion, are surprisingly among the most interesting tracks, due, perhaps paradoxically, to slightly innovative variations of familiar melodies. If anything, Friesen and Versace prove that there are still areas to be mined through the mainstream piano/ bass duo, and that tastefulness is never out of style. If only they could rev up the energy every now and then.

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