RALPH TOWNER/ PAOLO FRESU

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Musicreviews Shuffle - RAY COMISKEY

Chiaroscuro

ECM

If this duo col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween gui­tarist Ralph Towner and trum­peter and flugel­horn player Paolo Fresu is a guide, they have forged a fruit­ful part­ner­ship. Through­out there’s an in­ti­macy and ease to their dia­logu­ing that sug­gests a near-per­fect fit be­tween Fresu’s spa­cious lyri­cism and Towner’s ju­di­cious mix of the spare and the orches­tral as a soloist and part­ner. The con­trast suits their re­flec­tive, sub­tly un­der­stated ap­proach, as does the reper­toire, which, apart from Miles Davis/Bill Evans’s Blue In Green and a cou­ple of clos­ing spon­ta­neous im­provs by the duo, was com­posed by Towner. Some, like Sa­cred Ground, heard on solo bari­tone gui­tar and in a brief duet with Fresu, the plain­tive

Wist­ful Think­ing and the glo­ri­ous Ze­phyr, are old; oth­ers, like Dou­bled Up, on whose bare bones, with Towner’s help, Fresu thrives as an im­pro­viser, are new. All are un­de­ni­ably lovely. www.naxos di­rect.ie

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