Though there are potential dangers of harmonic clash, timbral muddying and rhythmic redundancy in the contemporary guitar-meets-piano format, George Cotsirilos and Keith Saunders neatly avoid them on Mostly in Blue
. Via shared sensibility and close communication, guitarist Cotsirilos leads his quartet in a mellow program deeply indebted to the Wes Montgomery-Wynton Kelly model.
Performing originals with bluesy connotations and occasional Brazilian inflections alongside the standard "I Wish I Knew" and Charlie Parker's "Crazeology," the band achieves a like live, at night ambiance. Cotsirilos favors a warm, pearly tone and long, flowing phrases which dip into his lowest reaches. Saunders adds lightly percussive chordal accompaniment and takes graceful solos tat expand the melodic material as on the 6/8 title track. He ma feint toward funk, but like Cotsirilos, stays on the sophisticated side of that territory.
Bassist Robb Fisher and Drummer Ron Marabuto are in Cotsirilos' working trio so their comfort level is established. I find the drummer's moves sometimes veering from those of the other players, but they aren't bothered, and he is at some reomove in the recordings mix. A drummer's appropriate independence might be one of the markers that distinguish a contemporary mainstream group sound from what Wes Montgomery expected 60 years ago. Still, the format seems timeless. This music isn't wildly innovative, but it's nonetheless personal and a pleasure.