Following the success of their DMP debut album Alto, Joe Beck and Ali Ryerson take this unique duo to yet a higher place musically on Django. Recorded in pure DSD Stereo and DSD Surround Sound by Tom Jung assisted by Mark Conese, Django has the ability to put the listener in the space where this music was performed.
Joe Beck, Guitar
Ali Ryerson, Alto Flute
Total time: 00:54:47
EMM Labs Meitner Crypton Solid Copper Cables
EMM Labs 8 Channel Analog to DSD Converter designed by Ed Meitner
Sony Sonoma 8-Channel DSD Workstation
Bob Ludwig (DSD 64); Tom Caulfield (DSD 128, DSD 256, DSD 512)
Gateway Mastering in Portland, Maine and NativeDSD Mastering Lab in Marshfield, MA
Earthworks 1024 & Millennia
Shure KSM 44 & KSM 32
Millennia Mixing Suite
|Original Recording Format|
Tom Jung assisted by Mark Conese and "DSD Meister" Gus Skinas
Recorded Live to 6 Channel and 2 Channel DSD at Ambient Recording Studios in Stamford, CT on February 8-10, 2001
Sony Sonoma 8-Channel DSD Workstation
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||September 25, 2020|
John Lewis’ compositional tribute to Django Reinhardt, the great gypsy guitarist is my favorite jazz work. Many years ago I put together a tape of all the recorded versions of Django – ranging from solo piano and guitar to full orchestra and all sorts of combinations in between. This version is near the top of all of them.
The 13 tracks on this album include some super choices: Chick Corea’s Spain, the Brazilian O Barquinho, Miles’ Nardis, and the Beatles’ Come Together among them.
Longtime studio ace and one-time Miles Davis collaborator Joe Beck doesn’t have much use for bass players, at least not when he’s playing his alto guitar. With its different tuning (A to A) and paired-off strings (in three registers), the instrument allows Beck to simultaneously play chords and bass lines. As a result, when Beck teamed up with alto flutist Ali Ryerson four years ago, the new duo often sounded like a trio — and an unusually deft one at that.
The pair’s latest recording is an intimate and seamless affair, inspired by the chamber-like sound attained by the Modern Jazz Quartet. “Django,” the album’s title track, pays evocative homage to the MJQ’s late pianist-composer John Lewis. Beck solos briefly during the performance, quietly contributing to its bluesy elegance, but not before Ryerson’s warm lyricism takes hold.
A similar chemistry is evident throughout the album, whether the tune is an engaging Beck composition (such as the breezy “Carioca Blue”) or a favorite composed by Chick Corea (“Spain”) or John Lennon and Paul McCartney (“Come Together”). Thanks to the duo’s care and nurturing, the pop perennials “When I Fall in Love” and “Tenderly” bloom again, and even the traditional warhorse “Danny Boy” catches a second breath. What’s more, Beck’s judicious use of electronics sometimes creates the illusion that a keyboardist is also contributing to the mix, adding another dimension to this one-of-a-kind recital.
All Music Guide
Joe Beck and Ali Ryerson have been working as a team for more than four years, playing concerts and other gigs under the name Duo. This is their second album, and, with the name Django, one would assume it is in honor of guitarist Django Reinhardt. Instead, the set is dedicated to the members of the Modern Jazz Quartet, who pioneered chamber jazz, the style that dominates this session with flutist Ryerson.
John Lewis’ “Django” is one of the tunes on the agenda that they play within the chamber style. Ryerson’s passion for Brazilian music is well documented. She gets to show her mastery of this tempo on “Carioca Blue” and “O Barquinho.” Jazz veteran Joe Beck, one of the first to mix Jazz and Rock Guitar, uses an alto guitar which he invented. It provides a strong harmonically mellow and rhythmic cushion upon which Ryerson carries the melody line with her expressive, buoyant flute.
Their mutual comfort is evident on such tunes as the medley “Come Together”/”Alone Together” and expresses itself on a haunting rendition of “Tenderly.” If anything, this album is epitomized by some striking improvising. The two take one chorus, stating the melody, and then let their collective imagination take over. That they play together rather than separately when they extemporize makes this album distinctive. And they do it successfully whether the tune is one by Miles Davis or Johnny Mercer. With just the two instruments, their inventive way of collaborating makes sure that the listener’s attention will not drift away. Recommended. 4 Stars.
Guitarist Joe Beck has played with everyone from Miles Davis to flamenco king Sabicas, while flutist Ali Ryerson has worked with Stephane Grappelli and Luciano Pavarotti. Together, they make beautiful music.
Part of what makes this duo special is Beck’s alto guitar, which employs a tuning of his own conception that matches up exceptionally well with Ryerson’s sultry-sounding alto flute. With Beck able to cover an expansive range that accesses both rich bass notes and higher-pitched chordal structures and Ryerson’s lush tone and adroit improvisational abilities, each player perfectly complements the other, witnessed by the deft work on “Laura,” “O Barquinho” and “Carioca Blue,” a vibrant Beck original. For a change of pace, the pair offers a medley that moves from “Come Together” to “Alone Together,” seamlessly uniting two seemingly unlike pieces of music. The program concludes with “Danny Boy,” gorgeously harmonized by Beck and sensitively interpreted by Ryerson.
No ordinary guitar/flute duo, this pair has a unique sound and combined set of abilities that embraces a variety of styles and enables them to produce chamber jazz at its best.
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