Twin Danger

Twin Danger

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Twin Danger's 2015 self-titled debut showcases the Brooklyn duo's smoky, neo-noirish jazz- and R&B-infused sound. Formed in 2013, Twin Danger is a collaboration between longtime Sade guitarist/saxophonist Stuart Matthewman and vocalist/guitarist Vanessa Bley. The daughter of jazz pianist Paul Bley, Vanessa Bley has a yearning yet cherubic vocal style that's matched with subtle precision by Matthewman's sophisticated horn arrangements and nuanced instrumental accents. In some ways, their languid, stylish aesthetic does bring to mind the distinctive pop Matthewman helped craft with Sade in the '80s and '90s. However, Twin Danger also have eclectic, wide-ranging tastes that -- while certainly steeped in the moody, midtempo, brushes-on-snare-drum swing of jazz -- can surprise, as on their torchy, theatrical reworking of Queens of the Stone Age's "No One Knows." Elsewhere, on cuts like "Pointless Satisfaction," "Coldest Kind of Heart," and "When It Counts," you can also hear the influence of legendary cool jazz trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker and idiosyncratic singer/songwriter Rickie Lee Jones. In fact, backing Twin Danger on most of the tracks is longtime Baker associate bassist Larry Grenadier. Also joining Twin Danger at various times are such virtuosic jazz and crossover pop sidemen as pianist Gil Goldstein (Billy Cobham, Miles Davis, Sting), trumpeter Michael Leonhart (Steely Dan, Jens Lekman, Rufus Wainwright), drummer Joe Bonadio (Sting, Grover Washington, Jr., Chris Botti), and others. While Twin Danger are by no means a straight-ahead jazz group, the inclusion of such experienced jazz musicians proves how much care Matthewman and Bley have taken in shaping an album that works as much more than a genre-bending conceit. Ultimately, with Bley cooing at you through a half-lidded smile, and Matthewman blowing smoke rings around her with his saxophone, Twin Danger have crafted a jazz album perfect for the boozy, late-night afterglow of a rock club, a sound so besotted with heartache, you'll want to close your eyes in reverie.

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