Bob Sneider

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Interconnection Review

by Rick Anderson

Guitar and piano is one of those duo combinations that really shouldn't work at all, given that the two instruments play mostly in the same range and, in a trio setting, fill the same harmonic and melodic roles. And, in fact, piano/guitar duos often do fail, for just those reasons. But when they succeed -- as they did, most famously, in the hands of pianist Bill Evans and guitarist Jim Hall -- the results can be spectacular. Guitarist Bob Sneider and pianist Paul Hofmann have a similar kind of chemistry to that demonstrated by Evans and Hall on their 1960s albums Undercurrent and Interplay, but their style is their own, and it comes out most clearly on their original compositions. Hofmann's "Jazz Suite for Guitar and Piano" is much more warm and organic-sounding than its title might lead one to expect, and Sneider's bluesy "Rumblin'" is every bit as good. But their interpretations of others' pieces are hardly any less exciting, and if their arrangement of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Desafinado" is just a touch brisk and cool, they bring a sweet elegance and insightful arrangement to Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo" and to George and Ira Gershwin's strutting "Bidin' My Time." Very nice.

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