Personnel includes: Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone, piano); Michael Stephans (drums); Larry Koonse (guitar); Tom Warrington (bass).
Producers: Bob Brookmeyer, Michael Stephans, Kathleen Nelson.
Recorded at Foxfire Studios, Los Angeles, California on August 8-9, 2000.
Personnel: Bob Brookmeyer (valve trombone, piano); Larry Koonse (guitar); Michael Stephans (drums).
Audio Mixers: James Bennett ; Talley Sherwood.
Recording information: Foxfire Studios, Los Angeles, U.S.A (08/08/2000/08/09/2000).
This recording celebrates a friendship going back many years, dating to when Bob Brookmeyer was struggling with alcoholism in the mid-'70s and a young drummer, Michael Stephans, was trying to encourage him to return to performing. Fast forward to the year 2000 and all is well; Brookmeyer is at the top of his game as a valve trombonist and composer/arranger, with Stephans ready to play. In addition to Stephans, bassist Tom Warrington and guitarist Larry Koonse are on hand for some exciting music, with true interaction among the players, an all too rare occurrence in modern jazz. "If I Loved You" is a solid opener, stretching well past Rodgers & Hammerstein's original concept of the song. "Wistful Thinking" was written by Eric Von Essen, a talented bassist whose compositions are only starting to be appreciated since his untimely death. "Stay Out of the Sun" is a playful work by Brookmeyer that is full of humor, while his tender ballad "Kathleen" opens with a moving duet by the leader and Koonse. "The Turtle" is primarily a loping bop number, though it begins with a wild chase between Brookmeyer and Koonse. "Bruise" sounds like a group improvisation initially, though it eventually winds its way into an intricate blues setting. The novel duo arrangement of "Blue in Green" begins with unaccompanied guitar, with Brookmeyer making a powerful entrance in due time; the haunting chart has an unresolved ending. The leader switches to piano for Koonse's emotional ballad "Longing." Highly recommended. ~ Ken Dryden