Two giants of modern jazz align for Bob Brookmeyer & Kenny Wheeler Quintet Island, a two-CD production, one of which is a DVD featuring band commentary, transcribed solos, and interviews. Here, valve trombone master Bob Brookmeyer and trumpet legend Kenny Wheeler project warmth and nuance atop a traditional drums/bass/piano based quintet setting as Wheeler's relatively infamous, yearning lines and climactically constructed lyricism remain consistent throughout. The duo alternates soloing activities while also coalescing for softly stated choruses during these predominately medium-tempo jazz works. On this release, pianist Frank Carlberg provides complementary melodies amid the rhythm section's buoyantly constructed undercurrents. The band pursues sanguine balladry amid the lead soloists' often engaging dialogues, although Wheeler reaches for the stars via a series of nicely articulated high notes on "Upstairs With Beatrice." With this piece, the always-inventive drummer John Hollenbeck peppers his toms in support of the trumpeter's ascending mode of attack. Many of these compositions feature movements consisting of undulating swing grooves and pleasant melodies. On the flip side, one might have hoped for a few up-tempo numbers injected into the mix, as the unwavering flow creates a bit of a blur about midway through the program.
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AllMusic Review by Glenn Astarita