Free Flight

Free Flight 2000

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In the nine years since Free Flight's last album, Slice of Life, pianist Mike Garson and flutist Jim Walker have devoted time to other aspects of their careers. Garson has reunited in the studio and on tour with David Bowie, while Walker's been busy with sessions and chairing the flute department at U.S.C. Free Flight 2000 is, like the best of the duo's '80s work, a frenzied excursion through the past few hundred years of music history. With dazzling stylistic shifts from bebop to classical to funk, they cover with equal amounts respect and adventure the likes of Paganini, Rachmaninoff, Bach, Ravel, and Rodgers & Hammerstein. Their overall approach is summarized on "Climb Every Mountain," which uses the simple melody as a road map for numerous zigzag jazz detours and bouncy off-roading. Another standout is Bach's "Prelude #6 in D minor," a Walker showcase which is spruced up by the R&B leanings of bassist Tom Warrington and drummer Joel Taylor. Garson originals like the waltzy "Song for Susan" and a frenetic "Interaction" between flute and piano round out a powerhouse set.