Deidre Rodman / Steve Swallow: Twin Falls (2006)
The pairing of pianist Deidre Rodman and bassist Steve Swallow may seem unlikely at first, but upon further investigation, it appears to be just right. They hit it off while touring in Switzerland six years ago and their new duo album chimes with a rare trust.
Named for the Idaho town where Rodman was born, the disc presents seventeen tracks, ten of which are under two minutes. The result is an collection of fully composed tunes dappled with interludes that add cohesion to the work as a whole. Sometimes hinting at hidden shadows lingering within a life, other times sprinkling that life with a smattering of magical charm, these tiny tracks offer the quick satisfaction of a bedtime story. Though they exist as individual entities, the strength they have in pulling the album together is apparent.
Rodman kicks up a sassy groove on the opening "Sunday Drive, a commanding composition that juxtaposes textures as she rambles through the lines, embellishing them with delicate lilts. A '70s funk groove simmers through the piece, perhaps hinting at the era when the pianist was born. Described by Rodman as "her most personal record yet, the disc musically illustrates her journey with her adoptive parents to a new home in Boise. The innocent glee gradually develops into a deeper contemplation.
On "Still One Swallow comforts with the gorgeous hum of his electric bass. He carves out a path for Rodman to fill, establishing a supportive role that re-emerges throughout the disc. He lays down a careful foundation from which he encourages her to spring, or creates a nurturing environment where she can feel safe to develop her confidence.
"Lullaby Of The Grandmothers gives way to an Eastern European waltz. At times it sounds carefree and full of joy, other times weary with the baggage of life, as both players elegantly traipse their fingers over their instruments. "Disappearing Act has an epic ascent up the scale that culminates in counterpoint and classical technique before slipping smoothly into hot jazz, displaying Rodman's exquisite dexterity. "Hymn, an arrangement of "My Heavenly Father Loves Me, is an achingly sentimental tune with piercing poignancy.
One of three tracks composed by Swallow (the rest were written by Rodman), "Away possesses a gentle gravity. As Rodman edges out on her own, her playing fills with great reflection, as if she's telling a story straight from the heart. Most of the tunes on Twin Falls contain memorable melodies. They gracefully resemble the memories one clings to and the past that exists peacefully among the present.
Track Listing: Sunday Drive; Going Home; Still One; Lullaby Of The Grandmothers; No Bears Are Out Tonight; Skateland; Domino Biscuit; Disappearing Act; Midnight Snow-Bright; In The Valley; Old Field; Hymn; Interlude; Little Song; Two Lights; Away; Separate And Beautiful.
Personnel: Deidre Rodman: piano; Steve Swallow: electric bass.