A nice set from Paul West and Mark Brown, a pair of Seattle musicians, Words & Music is composed primarily of original compositions from the pair with a couple of classic numbers slightly reworked (and given lyrics). A basic blues piece opens up the album, followed immediately by Dizzy's classic "Groovin' High," but with lyrics courtesy of West in the vein of the old Lambert, Hendricks & Ross recordings -- syncopated phrasings and a clear bop delivery. A soft ballad sings of an aging love, and John Lewis' "Afternoon in Paris" is given some lyrics. "Thumbin' a Ride" hangs out in an odd place between the Crosby & Hope "Road To" numbers and a Randy Newman song. Songs to old friends come in both the somber, almost-mourning form and the happy, welcoming form, followed by an offbeat a cappella piece ("We're So Lucky") and finally a bit of bossa nova in "Mondo Condo" that's just a bit faster than one would expect of the genre. "Kind Word" misses the target a bit lyrically, but makes up for it with some excellent instrumental portions from all musicians involved. Some more bop, then the album turns to a slow duet in the title track closer. These two musicians play with and off of one another beautifully. Though the compositions can get a bit stretched beyond their core competencies, it always sounds as though they're enjoying themselves. When the band is in its element, in a more straightforward jazzy form, it can certainly cook.