With all of the CDs reviewers are sent, rarely does a CD come along that speaks a language so true, it’s impossible to not recommend it to everyone. This is certainly the case with saxophonist Greg Fishman’s series of duets with pianist Jeremy Monteiro on Only Trust Your Heart. Together, these two extremely sympathetic musicians create some sincerely beautiful music.
Morton Grove, Illinois-born Fishman has an excellent lineage that includes time spent with the big bands of Woody Herman and Louie Bellson, as well as in small groups with Clark Terry and Marian McPartland. Monteiro’s worldwide acclaim includes being a Fellow of the London College of Music and Professor and Visiting Chair of Jazz at the School of Music at the LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts.
This short 44-minute disc, solely containing standards, features Fishman’s Stan Getz-inspired smooth lines in perfect rapport with Monteiro’s understated, but not under-expertly crafted, harmonic underpinnings. Together, they glide through each number with apparent ease of thought and singleness of mind--so exquisitely you’d swear they were in each other’s head. The rallentando at the end of "I Can’t Get Started" is just too perfect. As they slow down, they round off not only their own phrases, but also each others.
On the Johnny Mandel all-too-rarely-performed "El Cahon," Monteiro picks up the pace with a swingingly perfect, time feel that compliments Fishman’s jagged soloistic lines. The more Fishman darts, the smoother Monteiro crafts his time feel. It’s uncanny how each is the perfect contrast and foil for the other. Then, when Monteiro solos, he takes motives from the saxophonist’s solo and reworks them, speaking the common language, but embracing it in his own way.
"My Romance" and the opening "Only Trust Your Heart" are perhaps the standout tracks on a disc full of excellently culled moments of musical time. On each, the musicians are not only mindful of the other, but are in perfect lockstep in their tempo rubato. Regular tempo is not needed if you can feel where the other is going. This kind of mutual bond appears on each and every track. If there is a problem with the disc it’s that it’s way too short.