Jazz has either gotten quieter or louder, depending on the new releases you hear, no matter the genre. Younger musicians seem to be gravitating towards more instruments, more textures and louder volumes. Seasoned musicians have often opted to pare down their groups, experimenting with duos, trios and solo albums. This disc falls into the latter category, but it manages to remain interesting. Pianist Poryes and saxophonist/flutist/clarinetist Williamson use the sparse setting to explore the intimate pairing of their instruments. When it works best, it is both beautiful and complex, as on their version of Wayne Shorter's "Speak No Evil," which starts out stark and plodding and builds to a crescendo, then back again. At times it can be a little on the sugary side, as with their version of the Beatles' "In My Life," though it holds back from sounding too sweet with some smart chord alterations. The cover tracks bring new life to the tunes, regardless of their sugar content, thanks to the fine musicianship and interplay between the two, and the originals break up the familiar.
It's another example of chamber jazz done well.