t's a truism that effort should never call attention to itself. In "Always Look Back," an engrossing treatment of time-honored standards, the duo of Austrian bassist Gerhard Graml and American pianist Thomas Snow combine their efforts so seamlessly that you'd think they were hardly trying at all, that they're just doing what comes naturally, making music that unrelentingly pleases.
But does the world need yet more versions of the likes of "Emily," "Night and Day," "Have You Met Miss Jones?" Surely such chestnuts have been given countless readings by jazz musicians the world over.
If such tunes can be treated as freshly as they are here, with such an abundance of warmth, wit and wisdom, you bet. The Graml-Snow conversation never falters, nor does it rely on cliché. They clearly delight in each other's company, bringing a sparkling inventiveness to every nuanced exchange.
For those fortunate enough to have heard Gerhard and Tom in person as a duo or supporting other performers, this set will help satisfy a longstanding hunger. For those yet to hear them, it's a great
introduction to two solid artists in top form.
That said, though, this CD will leave both types of listeners wanting more, and hoping that the two players will break their rule and look ahead.
Rich Tozier, Radio Jazz Producer, Maine Public Broadcasting Network (USA)