2017's Small Town was the first duo release from master guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan, recorded live at New York's The Village Vanguard in 2016, and here we are two years later, and ECM Records has unearthed some additional recordings from the extended New York City run at the Vanguard, this collection titled Epistrophy. Once again, both Frisell and Morgan are at their very best, performing as if they were one person almost (strange as that may sound), running through a nice selection of original compositions and standards in front of a very appreciative crowd.
With the rumbling, almost bluesy "Mumbo Jumbo", the duo march along in unified fashion, their lines & licks seamlessly blended together in uncanny fashion, but it's the more jazzy pieces here that allow for each player to breathe and flow alongside each other, as on "All in Fun" and a marvelous take on "Save the Last Dance for Me", as Frisell's effortless, melodic notes fly over Morgan's lush grooves. Gorgeous lyrical soundscapes permeate "You Only Live Twice", and the title cut swings and sways, weaving lead guitar melodies bobbing and weaving around solid grooves courtesy of Morgan. Perhaps the most poignant and gorgeous sounds on the album are saved for last with "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning", as lush guitar chords and melodic bass lines just tug at your heart strings, proving once again that jazz can certainly reach the listener on an emotional level.
Magical stuff here from two musicians who are completely on another level with each other, and we, the listeners, are the recipients of their musical grandeur.
1) All in Fun
2) Wildwood Flower
3) Save the Last Dance for Me
4) Mumbo Jumbo
5) You Only Live Twice
6) Lush Life
9) Red River Valley
10) In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning