Carolyn Hume

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This soft, gentle, minimalist recording may surprise some who are accustomed to the radical free improvisation usually associated with the Leo Records Laboratory label. While labeling music is always a difficult venture, this one falls somewhere just this side of new age. Pianist Carol Hume and drummer Paul May have a clear vision of their music: it is the sort you might find associated with crystals, the kind pumped into the sound systems of retail shops at upscale beach resorts. It is relaxing, quiet, and soothing, not too demanding, but not very challenging, either. Hume and May are accomplished players, in synch with one another, and this project is clearly the result of substantial preparation. Every now and then, there are crevices where innovative snippets are inserted, but these are rare. Bassist Neil May is added on one piece, and clarinetist Duke Garwood contributes to the tonal palette on a couple, but the other tracks are duets between piano (or keyboards) and drums. The cover landscape drawing and the interior photo of seagulls reflect the contemplative, almost saccharine mood that seems to expand with each track. While there is certainly a place for this sort of music, it bares little relation to the jazz tradition, and is a curious addition to the usually extraordinarily adventurous Leo Lab label.

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