Blue Rose

Blue Rose

Guitarist John Stowell is no stranger to the duo format, having notably gigged and recorded in duos since the ‘70s with bassist David Friesen and others. Saxophonist Dave Liebman, on the other hand, plays in just about any context on any given day since his arrival a decade earlier. Here the two come together for a conversational set of standards. Known for playing soprano sax as well as tenor, Liebman throws a few curveballs with an earthy wood flute intro to “Black Eyes” and accords himself well on piano during “Time Remembered” and “How Deep Is the Ocean.” Stowell on acoustic shines throughout, with a jaunty but soft rhythmic phrasing on the title track, “Fe Fi Fo Fum,” and “Molten Glass.” He blends in leads to particularly fine effect on the ruminative “Isfahan.” But the cornerstone of any duo jazz recording is chemistry: these two have it as they toss ideas back and forth, accenting and underpinning each other on gems like “Everything I Love” and the lovely bossa nova “Until Paisagem.”

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