Two pianos - one vision. Tony Pancella and Larry Willis have released a duo album titled Alter Ego and with their flow and beautiful lines, it is hard sometimes to see when they do alter, and that’s what makes this album superb.
Dipping into the Miles Davis catalogue for "Blue in Green," Pancella and Willis are almost two Bill Evanses playing together with a touch of Wynton Kelly.
The Willis-penned "To Wisdom, The Prize" is seven minutes of great counter play between the two. No one here takes the lead and now on here just follows. With duo albums it is sometimes clear who leads and who follows.
Duke Ellington’s "Single Petal of a Rose" is not played in the Ellington standard. While Ellington could have played this with a flair of swing or stride, Willis and Pancella give it their own rendition - if The Duke were alive today and had a chance to hear this version, I am assuming he would be fully appreciative and give his blessing.
The real core strength of this album is the Pancella and Willis-penned songs. From "Just Wait and See" to "Annika’s Lullabye," this duo is spot on. They do a wonderful version of "Alone Together" and for that, they really are and it could be possibly the best way. There are no alter egos on this album and as far as another collaboration, it will be welcomed, we will just have to wait and see.