Perdido Records DOR-2201
Ross Stanley (piano); Chris Allard (guitars)
Allard and Stanley are two well – travelled and well connected session musicians who began their collaboration over 20 years ago as students at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
In the following years, collectively and separately, they have worked in diverse musical environments with large and small ensembles including the glitterati of the jazz world, their virtuosic talents seemingly in constant demand.
However, whilst working on these varied projects they have operated as a duo, achieving a high degree of intuitive rapport, performing music of the type presented here.
Their selection of tunes comprises jazz themes (some more familiar than others), standard repertoire and several originals by Chris Allard which include the title track.
It’s a varied enough programme and Allard exchanges his electric guitar for acoustic here and there to achieve a timbral variety suited to the type of tune; softer and resonant for the Iberian tinged themes including Jobim’s elegant `Luiza`; harder and steelier for the more jazz and blues oriented pieces.
Although the music is largely bright and busy with Stanley’s swirling pianism in constant play some moody introspection works its way into the recital with pieces like the closing `Grand Lament`, an Allard original which owes something to Gilberto’s `O Grand Amor`.
This is to be welcomed because, notwithstanding, the pair’s undeniable virtuosity the omnipresent, insistent comping with which they underpin each other’s solos deprive the music of a much needed airiness, sadly, making the listening experience in a single sitting, rather heavy going.
Reviewed by Euan Dixon