|This first-time meeting of American guitarist Jim Hall and Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi is a trans-Atlantic collaboration seemingly dreamed up by the jazz gods. Filled with collaborative tunes as well as nuggets from each of their songbooks, Duologue is a 10-song conversation filled with colorful stories and wistful reminiscences.
It’s a mutual admiration affair with Hall saying “What a pleasure to finally record with Enrico.” Not to be topped, Pieranunzi adds: “To have recorded a duo with him makes this session a real privilege.” The two set the tone for this session with “Duologue I.” Here on the first of three such pieces, the duo improvises its way through a series of phrases and harmonic ideas – Hall adds interesting textures as Pieranunzi provides rock solid counterpoint.
The next two tunes come from the pens of Hall and Pieranunzi, respectively, with Hall’s “Careful” having an almost folky drive to it even as Pieranunzi tosses in blues shadings. The two bring it down for the pianist’s ballad “From E. To C.,” highlighting a heartfelt lyricism in each of their individual styles.
The duo follows these individually composed pieces by offering up a collaborative gift entitled “Our Valentines.” At 10 minutes in length, the song is the longest on the album, but there are no wasted notes as they create a gentle ebb and flow dynamic. Sometimes swirling and opaque, sometimes austere and lean, the song has an epic feel of a long scenic journey.
The angular and playful “Duologue II” is short cleansing of the palate before the two jump into “The Point At Issue,” which is another Pieranunzi original. After opening with a hard-hitting 3/4 refrain, the two quickly jump into the tune, offering flittering licks from Hall and strong rhythmic drive from the pianist’s left hand and swooping melodies from his right.
The contemplative “Something Tells Me” sounds like a standard because the melody is so simple and elegant. The pianist adds a lush and flowing solo that’s practically over in a blink as the guitarist resumes his aching melody line.
The disc concludes with “Jimlogue,” “Duologue III,” and “Dreamlogue.” Each is the fruit a conversation that is going full bore. Regardless of what the order the session, these three closing tunes illustrate how strong the chemistry between the two players had grown. Seemingly pulling furthest away from each other during “Jimlogue,” they never seem to lose their sense of direction and end up right where they should at the song’s end.
As stately as a gilded ballroom from the Italian Renaissance, the album closer offers a beautiful classical-leaning piece composed by the pianist with Hall adding his own singular filigree.
Sitting proudly next to anything in either musician’s catalog, Duologues is the essence of the duo format – two thoughtful musicians fully engaged in a conversation that never shows signs of waning.