Top­ics Chal­lenge

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music Reviews - RAY COMISKEY

Th­ese beau­ti­ful duets con­trast Aber­crom­bie’s ethe­re­ally lovely gui­tar sound and lyri­cal warmth with Ruocco’s more ab­stract but equally lyri­cal and en­gag­ing clar­inet. It works par­tic­u­larly well on a se­ries of stan­dards, where both play­ers’ har­monic nous and gift for the oblique al­low the ma­te­rial to emerge from some exquisitely dis­creet im­pro­vis­ing. Some­time Ago, I Can’t Get Started, I Hear a Rhap­sody and I’m Get­ting Sen­ti­men­tal Over You would be out­stand­ing per­for­mances in any con­text, nu­anced mu­si­cal con­ver­sa­tions in which the lead is sub­tly passed back and forth. Less com­pelling are the brief free im­pro­vi­sa­tions in be­tween, some of which give lit­tle sense of con­joined im­pro­vi­sa­tion. Two im­provs, how­ever – the short, play­ful Mutes and, es­pe­cially, a won­der­ful six-minute Fast and Slow – come to­gether ex­tremely well. Gor­geous over­all.­s­ic­connec­

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