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Album of the week:
Kevin Mackenzie & Steve Hamilton, Midnight Without You (Laundry Room)
The Blue Nile’s songs enter the jazz catalogue convincingly on this first recording from a Scottish guitar-piano duo that’s been in the stars since Kevin Mackenzie first heard Steve Hamilton as a precocious teenage pianist.
Previous duos including Jim Hall with both Bill Evans and George Shearing and Pat Martino with Gil Goldstein fuelled Mackenzie’s desire to work with Hamilton and there are echoes here of all three, although it’s another Pat – Metheny - who springs to mind as Mackenzie’s propellant acoustic guitar introduces Headlights on the Parade.
There’s something of Metheny’s liking for Philly soul too in the lovely Easter Parade, which finds Mackenzie and Hamilton luxuriating – as they do consistently – in the melody.
Judicious overdubbing adds atmosphere behind Mackenzie’s clipped tone and Hamilton’s careful precision but essentially this is a conversation between two musical voices who know how to communicate a song’s meaning without words and, as the gospel-flavoured O Lolita illustrates, extend the sentiment with improvisational imagination.
From The Sunday Herald August 31, 2014.
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