Sea of tranquility review
Reviewer: Alex Torres
Do you fancy being seduced by a luscious lover? Of course! And, for those moments when one isn’t around, you could do a lot worse than allow yourself to be seduced by the lustrous, caressing jazz on Sunday Morning. Randy Klein – winner of 4 Emmy awards and holder of 2 Gold records – has created an album of beautiful piano duets, alternating the partnership between Chris Washburne’s trombone and Oleg Kireyev’s saxophone. As the album’s title implies, his object was to create music to suit quiet moods, and he’s succeeded admirably.
Sunday Morning is partly composed (by Klein) and partly improvised. Don’t frightened by the word – after all, you’re happy to listen to improvised soloing in a rock/prog-rock setting, so what’s wrong with it in jazz? This music is anything but scary: it is, as I’ve already implied, delightfully lush and relaxing, but still full of interesting nuances to allow you to focus should you wish (ah! those caresses!). It is intended as the first in series of “two duos” recordings, a project consisting of duets between Klein on piano and number of improvising soloist in an interpretive solo settings. The music is composed specifically for each of Klein’s accompanying artists. In describing duo performance Klein says: “ Both players are always totally exposed. The accompanist has to lay down harmony, rhythm, fill in the spaces and be ready to solo. When the accompanist turns soloist, the solo instrument becomes the orchestra (one instrument orchestra) playing the inner voices, adding color, rhythm and nuance to back the piano solo. Another observation is that when I’m playing, I don’t feel like composer of the music. I am simply interpreting it as any improvising musician would, being in the moment.
In this setting of leisure moments, Washburne’s trombone is the male, the playful child, the prankster; and Kireyev’s sax the sultry temptress, luring you into an iniquitous den. From the album’s excellent sleeve notes I got the impression that Klein prefers the tones of the trombone but, for me, it was the sax that stole the show. Kireyev’s approach to this music is extraordinary, the way he allows this instrument to breathe almost endows it with a life of its own: the sax itself becomes the musician, not Kireyev, the two subsuming into one. Tremendous: it’s a style that draws the listener deeper into the music.
Throughout, Klein’ s piano is a delight: soft yet commanding. For a lover of the piano as an instrument, like me, it’s continuous joy.
Another way of thinking of Sunday Morning is as smooth late-night jazz but with the chanteuse replaced by trombone/saxophone, the instrument’s phrasing very often reminiscent of singing: another feature that makes one personify them on this album. To pick out just a couple of favourite moments of mine: “Truly Yours”, where we first hear Kireyev’s sax, and it’s at its seductive best, playing with melody reminiscent of the “Thomas Crown Affair” theme; and Washburne’s “Petits Pois” which bizarrely, reminds me of the tune of a piano piece I once played whilst learning!!! – but it’s more wonderful with Klein/Washburne at the helm!
Soft, lush, romantic, melodic and jazzy, jazzy – it’s a great album that all progressive music fans will enjoy.