Debbie Poryes / Bruce Williamson

Two & Fro

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Pianist Debbie Poryes included multi-reed player Bruce Williamson as a member of the quartet on her first OA2 CD, but on her second CD for the label, it is just the two of them. There are several oft-recorded standards, though none of them sound the least bit hackneyed. The striking extended workout of "Ol' Man River" never loses sight of the famous melody's roots, yet it forges a new route with their spacious, dramatic duet. They incorporate fresh approaches to several timeless jazz works. With Williamson on alto sax, they introduce Wayne Shorter's "Speak No Evil" with a spirited improvisation and wrap the song with a turbulent segue into a soft-spoken conclusion. Their interpretation of John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice" is played at a much slower than usual tempo, with Williamson beginning on alto and finishing on bass clarinet. The Beatles' "In My Life" has become a favorite of jazz musicians and the duet here features Poryes' shimmering piano buoyed by Williamson's understated soprano sax. Their originals are just as strong. Poryes' playful, infectious "You Bet I Do" (with Williamson on flute) deserves a lyric. Williamson's haunting "Lost Souls" is a moving ballad, showcasing his powerful clarinet. Highly recommended.

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