Bruce Barth / Steve Wilson

Home: Live in Columbia, Missouri

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When the producers of this recording titled it Home, it was not for a conceptual or self-serving reason. Recorded in the residence of a music patron in Columbia, MO, this house concert for 65 guests features duets between New York City-based jazz players Bruce Barth and Steve Wilson, who have known each other since arriving in the Big Apple in the late 1980s. St. Louis-based promoter Jonathan Poses, known for bringing top-level musicians to many concerts in the Midwest, teamed pianist Barth and alto saxophonist Wilson for this program of Barth originals plus three standards. There's a remarkable symmetry and balance between these players: they never get in each other's way, take turns, listen intently, and truly share the music. Much of it is laid-back without a rhythm section and not all that urgent, while the sonic palette of the two instruments merge beautifully on many occasions. They do dive into the energetic Bud Powell bop flag waver "Wail," dig in on a Thelonious Monk-type "Blues Interruptus," and switch from a witty seven-beat intro on Cole Porter's "All Through the Night" to a sprightly 4/4. As Barth reinvents his own works, he massages the melodies with great passion, while Wilson's voice on alto is as confident and distinctive as anyone currently playing the instrument. The recording itself is only slightly thin, allowing for the non-studio acoustics of a living room, but it is good enough to hear everything well. This is a nice effort, good to go for fans of these two excellent, experienced, tasteful musicians.

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