Glen Moore and David Friesen are two bass players who need no introduction; their bios and discographies are legendary, so any release form either is worthy of serious attention. A CD featuring the two of them is something special, especially given the enormous historical legacy they bring to their art. The Bass duo CD idea is not an altogether common genre but there have been some remarkable recordings over the years (Dave Holland, Barre Phillips, Barry Guy, Joelle Leandre, William Parker, Peter Kowald, Damon Smith, Giorgio Dini, the Marks Brothers (Dresser and Helias), Tetsu Saitoh, Nobuyohsi Ino, etc.) and this is the third duo CD that Moore and Friesen have released (over 40 years!). This release is on the fascinating independent Seattle label, Origin records.
This recording followed a series of U.S. duo dates and a European tour and their obvious ease and fluency with each other is very evident. Both bassists also play piano on some tracks, creating a wide range of colors and influences. The opening tracks, "Still Waters" and "How Down," sound like pure fun, whereas tracks like "Free Play" explore completely different compositional worlds. "Return" stands out with its haunting piano melody and effectively percussive bass ostinato. Both bassists share the compositional credits with additional covers of Gershwin's "Summertime" and the classic Tizol "Caravan," giving memorable readings to both. "Kontrast" features some remarkably loquacious dialogue verifying their long collaborative history.
"Bactrian," the title track (named for a two humped camel native to the steppes of eastern Asia), which closes the CD, has some memorably emotive arco solo work over a chordal pattern, synthesizing a range of colors, especially with Friesen's Hemage bass. Both artists' work has often been at the confluence of many styles so it's not surprising that they bring so much to a collective project which rewards a lot of repeated listenings.
The CD is beautifully recorded and produced as might be expected from these two masters.