There are times when you don't need a lot of information about the artists participating on a recording to know exactly how you feel about it. Duets, from two Spanish guitarists (Joaquin Chacon and Jose Luis Gamez), offers us one of those times.
It would be easy to be misled by the simple "wood and strings" cover photo, with its even simpler stark titles, to mistake this CD for a classical work or even a "mellow mood" easy listening-type recording. Also, with the participants' Spanish names, you may be expecting some Latin-American fare. Well, none of these prejudices could be further from the truth. (Although there is one Jobim bossa nova, "Retrato em Branco e Preto"). Duets is as straight-ahead as an album can be. Even their originals, "Cosica en Re" (Gamez) and "Bobby's Groove" (Chacon), are swingin'.
Jose Luis Gamez (who is heard in the left stereo channel) opts for a light sound, while Chacon(in the right) takes a deeper, more rounded sonority.
Having mentioned the two originals on the CD, the other compositions couldn't really be thought of as "standards", even thogh the composers names would give you to believe they were. Case in point: There is a Hoagy Carmichael song. What would you guess? "Stardust"? "Georgia (on My Mind)"? No, Chacon and Gamez turn to the lovely "How Little We Know".
This is a CD you're just going to have to purchase, especially if you're a fan of jazz guitar. Remember about thirty to forty years ago, when the great straight-ahead swinging guitarists released what seemed like scores of duet albums? Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Joe Pass, Bucky Pizzarelli, Barney Kessell, etc.? These Spaniards seem to be leading up a new revolution to bring back that tradition.
I'm all for it.