Ron Gill / John Stein

Turn Up the Quiet

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Ron Gill's dusky vocals prove a fine match for John Stein's smooth, classy jazz guitar and, alternately, Gilad Barkan's piano on this set of mostly standards. Reminiscent of a young Tony Bennett, Gill is a romantic who gets straight to the heart of a lyric and understands the dynamics of the duet, including not only how to phrase seductively, but also when not to sing and allow the instruments to complete his thoughts. On Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," Gill lays back for the song's entire first half, allowing Stein to establish the mood before jumping in. When Gill does make his appearance, he's cool and collected, a master of nuance. On Ivan Lins' samba-inspired "Love Dance," Stein establishes a lilting rhythm, then leaves it to Gill to work his charms while the guitar comps along faithfully but not forcefully. Stein, with his simple but elegant chording and intricate riffing, never sees a need to push yet neither is his role that of a sideman -- the symbiotic relationship of musician to singer is front and center at all times. The sole original, "Our Love Will See Us Through," like all of these tracks, takes the album title's mission seriously -- this is delicate music for those times when even the slightest intrusion of volume just won't do. Gilad Barkan's piano is a perfect fit, and one hopes immediately upon hearing his contribution that the next time around, a trio session will be in the cards.

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