Trumpeter and flügelhornist Marvin Stamm grew frustrated with the lack of recording opportunities, so in 1999 he began the Marstam label to distribute his work, which is available through his website (www.marvinstamm.com). On this duo date, he's joined by pianist Bill Mays, someone he has worked with often; the results are consistently outstanding. Stamm's captivating sound on either horn is matched by his perfect intonation, plus the fact that he allows the music breathing room even on the most up-tempo numbers. Mays' creative approach to the piano brings new life to even the most familiar songs. Following Stamm's unaccompanied introduction to "By Myself," both he and Mays demonstrate the kind of give and take in supporting one another that is essential in a duo setting. In addition to another Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, a lovely take of "You and the Night and the Music," the CD includes "The Lamp Is Low" with a playful Mays introduction and some of Stamm's most lyrical trumpet playing; a romp through Sonny Rollins' "Airegin," featuring Stamm's rich flügelhorn; and a warm rendition of Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma." Mays also contributed two originals: "Judy," with its tricky changes; and "Madrugada," a beautiful Latin ballad co-written with Alfred Kwiatek. Jazz just doesn't get any better in a duo setting.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden