Bill Anschell/Brett Jensen: We Couldn't Agree More (2009)
We Couldn't Agree More is a great example of what happens when two like-minded musicians gather for an impromptu session, playing through a list of well-worn standards. Pianist Bill Anschell and soprano saxophonist Brent Jensen deliver a relaxed, humorously inventive duo recording that happily swings from beginning to end.
Recorded in Boise, Idaho, during a break from a tour of the state (Jensen is an Assistant Professor of Music at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls), the two long time collaborators take a bare bones, unedited approach with successful results.
Anschell opens the record with a jagged arpeggio accompaniment over "I'm Old Fashioned," influencing Jensen's lively solo. Throughout the disc, the Seattle-based pianist pushes familiar song forms into unfamiliar territory. "What is This Thing Called Love" begins with a hard-to-swallow music box vibe that eventually settles into a memorable rendition. Anschell demonstrates astonishing, Art Tatum-like flourishes over "The People Versus Miss Jones," a clever take on the changes to "Have You Met Miss Jones?"
Jensen's sleek soprano playing dances gracefully through each tune with lyrical, uncontrived soulfulness. Rather straight-forward interpretations of "You and the Night and the Music" and "Just Friends" have an appealing effect, even after multiple listens.
We Couldn't Agree More delivers a fresh twist to familiar gems. Anschell and Jensen are having way too much fun not to pay attention.
Track Listing: I'm Old Fashioned; Solar; The People Versus Miss Jones; You and the Night and the Music; What is This Thing Called Love?; You Aren't All That; Ask Me Now; Beautiful Love; Just Friends; Solar (alternate take); On the Sunny Side of the Street.
Personnel: Bill Anschell: piano; Brett Jensen: soprano saxophone.