French pianist Martial Solal is joined by American trumpeter Dave Douglas for this inspired duo session. Solal has long been one of Europe's top pianists, while he has made occasional trips to the U.S. to perform, while Douglas has become a favorite of critics for his diverse recordings. The 35-year age difference between the musicians means nothing, as they react like old friends who have played together countless times. The session is staged in an unusual fashion, alternating between originals by each player over the first six tracks, followed by several timeless standards. Douglas begins on muted horn for Solal's quirky "July Shower," stimulated by the pianist's unpredictable accompaniment that focuses on the lower half of the keyboard. The trumpeter puts aside his mute for his melancholy tribute "Blues to Steve Lacy," with Solal's dirge-like piano perfectly capturing its mood. The standards are all pieces that the two men have undoubtedly played hundreds of times. Solal's dissonant approach to "Have You Met Miss Jones" is extremely playful and stimulates Douglas' rapid-fire muted trumpet. Their spacious, somewhat pensive setting of "Here's That Rainy Day" is equally refreshing. There's never a mundane moment throughout this brilliant duo date by Martial Solal and Dave Douglas, which merits a follow-up meeting.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden