3. Vocé E Eu
4. I Had The Craziest Dream
5. Three And One
6. No One Else But You
7. Brigas Nunca Mais
8. Heavy Artillery
9. I Brung You Finjans For Your Zarf
10. If Dreams Come True
Howard Alden – Guitar (left channel)
Andy Brown – Guitar (right Channel)
Joe Policastro – Bass
Bob Rummage – Drums
One of the great cool mainstream jazz guitarists Johnny Smith, who
died earlier this year, said the following about Howard Alden: “Howard
Alden belongs to a small group of the very best jazz guitarists in
the world.” As for Andy Brown, here is what Down Beat magazine
had to say about him: “Andy Brown happens to be an uncommonly good
player with a modesty that brings to mind the fine Canadian guitarist
Ed Bickert and a warmth suggestive of Joe Pass.” Bring these two musicians
together on their release entitled Heavy Artillery and you
get a session worthy of its title.
This iteration of the Quartet was formed in 2010, although the two
guitarists have been playing together for a considerably longer period
and found that their styles meshed well. When it came time to record
the Quartet, it seemed sensible to make the best use of stereo technology
with Howard Alden profiled on the left channel and Andy Brown on the
right channel to take advantage of their individual musical voices.
The band worked from a set list that capitalized on each guitarist’s
extensive repertoire covering a wide range of songs from several genres
of both well-known and lesser-played compositions. Louisiana leads
off the session with Alden and Brown giving a taste of what’s to come
as they trade off single-note lines and then each moves into a supporting
role while bassist Policastro and drummer Rummage provide unfaltering
rhythmic support. The intricate interplay between the two guitarists
shines though even more on the two guitar duo tracks I Had The
Craziest Dream and If Dreams Come True. Here one can
sense that Alden and Brown act as foils for each other and subtly
exhort themselves to move to a higher plain.
For a change of pace, two lovely Brazilian bossa nova compositions Vocé E Eu and Brigas Nunca Mais bring out the guitarists’
sensibilities for the genre and confirm their understanding of the rhythmic dynamics that drive the music. The title track Heavy Artillery is a
Django Reinhardt composition that has his gypsy antecedents referenced throughout the tune, and yet Alden and Brown bring a new freshness to the style.
Alden and Brown had to dig through the library of obscure tunes to come up with the Red Norvo/Tal Farlow composition I Brung You Finjans For Your Zarf which was originally done by Norvo on a 1956 Fantasy red vinyl release entitled Red Norvo With Strings
– the strings being Red Mitchell bass and Tal Farlow guitar. This rendition is no less sassy and comes together in an understated way.
This is a solid outing from two exemplary guitarists.