Sheryl Bailey

Reunion of Souls

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Guitar duo albums are tricky things; sometimes both participants want to be Wes Montgomery at the same time, so what you get are two soloists barreling ahead at the same time without any regard for each other, and sometimes the players are so restrained and tasteful that it sounds like the notes are going to fall asleep before they make it out of the speakers. Sheryl Bailey and Chris Bergson's Reunion of Souls falls rather neatly in the middle of these two extremes, neither flashy nor dull. Bailey and Bergson, both students of the noted guitarist Jim Hall, have similar styles, although Bailey's solos (on the left channel) tend to be a bit edgier and more dissonant than Bergson's sweeter-toned, George Benson-style work on the right channel. Bassist Ashley Turner and drummer Sunny Jain provide understated and reserved backing, putting all the focus directly onto the guitars. The program of originals is quite fine, but the highlight is a charming duet version of Rodgers & Hart's "There's a Small Hotel" that's a perfectly sweet rendition of an always-enchanting tune. There is absolutely nothing groundbreaking happening here, but Reunion of Souls is quite good on its own small terms.

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