Michael Jefry Stevens: piano; Dom Minasi: guitar
The Stevens / Minasi duo pairs two consanguineous artistic personalities expressing their individual characteristics with unpretentious elegance (also kept in sight along excited segments such as “Rough – Housing”) and regard, both reciprocal and for the audience at home. Angel’s Dance – recorded eleven years ago, nevertheless sounding extremely synchronous with the “now” – comprises sixteen dignified improvisations displaying transparence of intents and will of overcoming shopworn appearances without recurring to immoderate radicalism. Still, do not expect to be treated with surpluses of velvety comfort. Minasi’s attempts to nullify the conventions of cleansed-up jazz verbiage yield inventions whose discordant contours betray the guitarist’s potbellied hollow-body tones, resulting in oddly shaped intervallic designs and percussively picked chit-chat. Stevens is the one who supervises the building of fortified contrapuntal walls to protect his friend’s valuable meandering, alternating chordal turbulence and calmer neo-classical cognition occasionally erased by nervous outbursts causing sharp oscillations of the timbral gamut across the piano keyboard. Melody does lurk around certain corners: for example, in tracks like “Chimes for Justin” or at the beginning of “Little Bitty Ballad” the couple shows a genuine tendency to sing. However, the necessity of leaving convenient routes to look into more adventurous sequences prevails once again.