Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eddie Gomez and Cesarius Alvim: Forever

Plus Loin Music
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Forever

The quality of music always is directly related to the quality of the musicians who perform it. Bassist Eddie Gomez and pianist Cesarius Alvim are two of the finest elder statesmen of jazz, and this album presents them in a duet setting.

Gomez has played jazz for decades; how many musicians have worked with Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan and Bill Evans during their career? Evans hired Gomez when he was only 21 years old, and “the kid” subsequently spent 11 years with that august group.

The Rio de Janeiro-born Alvim moved to France in the 1970s and enrolled in a conservatory as a classical double-bass major. His choice of piano as a primary instrument came later, but his familiarity with the bass has had a profound effect on his style. It’s key to the performance with Gomez on this album.

Bill Evans fans know how important the bassist was to his groups, and he was blessed with two of the best masters of that instrument: Scott LaFaro (who died in a car accident at age 25) and Gomez. Alvim may not be Bill Evans, but this outstanding duo obviously has been influenced by that jazz legend.

Half of these 12 tracks were composed by Alvim. Gomez wrote one, and the rest are covers of not often played standards by the likes of Wayne Shorter (“Witch Hunt”) and Rogers & Hart (“Spring Is Here”).

Yes, these artists may sound like Evans at times, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying one of the most accomplished duos to come along in years.

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