1. Dave and Don Blues/Straight, No Chaser
2. Five Brothers
3. Some Day My Prince Will Come
4. Milagro Suite
5. All Blues
7. Turn Out the Stars
8. Pacific Avenue
9. Memphis Stomp
10. Road Town
11. What a Friend We Have in Jesus.
Dave Grusin, Don Grusin - Pianos
One of my favourite films is On Golden Pond, which contains superb acting by Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda, plus magical cinematography, and a wonderful musical score by Dave Grusin. This is just one of Dave's many memorable film scores, which include The Graduate, The Fabulous Baker Boys and The Milagro Beanfield War. Dave also formed GRP Records with Larry Rosen.
As well as being a talented composer, Dave Grusin is an excellent pianist, as is his younger brother Don. Together they recorded this album in 2009 in Munich. The minimal sleeve-notes give no information about who is playing when, and their styles are so similar that the music often blends into one indistinguishable fusion. For example, the first track opens with a gentle blues which gradually turns into Thelonious Monk's Straight, No Chaser. The phrase "two minds with but a single thought" often occurs to this listener.
Gerry Mulligan's Five Brothers is a catchy number which the brothers play with loving care. The same can be said of Someday My Prince Will Come, which is stated tentatively, as if the duettists are discovering the tune for the first time. Then it moves into a measured waltz before falling out of tempo. Milagro Suite is a Dave Grusin composition which has the air of an exotic Mexican dance.
Miles Davis's All Blues has a graceful lilt mixed with a down-home bluesy feeling. Note the intriguing ending, which - like many tracks on this CD - has a floating air which arises from the brothers' melodic concern. This is also noticeable in Don Grusin's Chico, which is short but rhapsodic, and Bill Evans's Turn Out the Stars - delivered very much in the style of its composer.
Pacific Avenue and Road Town were both written by Don Grusin: the former with echoes of Debussy and Dave's fluent On Golden Pond music. (I suspect that this is piano solo by Don, although the sleeve is silent on the point.) The latter is an animated piece, which sounds like a duet, where the brothers play together as one.
Memphis Stomp is a Dave Grusin original (from his film music for The Firm) with the vivid atmosphere of ragtime. The concert ends with the spiritual What a Friend We Have in Jesus, played with some typical gospel inflections. Dave and Don fuse together perfectly here, as they do throughout the recital, with a gliding emphasis on melody which is enchanting.