Upward Spiral

Upward Spiral

The master saxophonist meets his vocal foil in this fruitful musical dialogue. The song selection shows that these two are at their best when they’re taking jazz to realms where it wouldn’t otherwise travel. An imaginative interpretation of Chris Whitley’s “From One Island to Another” moves from pensive to stormy, while Elling handles the bossa nova classic “Só Tinha de Ser Com Você” with such effortlessly playful poise, you’d assume Portugese was his native tongue. For all their virtuosity, the duo’s minimalistic takes on “I’m a Fool to Want You” and “Blue Velvet” affirm the disarming power of the understatement.

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