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Live at Mezzetta

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Album Review

Every once in a while, a jazz label owner learns about a tape a musician made of a live performance

"just for fun," and ends up issuing a treasure which more than just a single night's audience can enjoy.

Happily, this is the story behind this 1992 club date at Mezzatta Café by bassist Don Thompson and guitarist Reg Schwager. In addition to his many other skills, Thompson is also a talented engineer who recorded the well-known Paul Desmond Quartet Live album while also taking part in the performances. The intimate, almost conversational nature of their duets is clearly a match made in heaven as they work their way through eight time-tested standards. The opener, "Wonder Why," is probably the least-known song on the program, though their lyrical, often witty treatment adds to its appeal. "Willow Weep for Me" is unusually dramatic, with Schwager's spacious, yet still bluesy lead lines gradually picking up headway as Thompson's loping bass follows along. Their tense arrangement of "You and the Night and the Music" adds a newfound energy to an already entrancing song. Likewise, Thompson's brisk introductory solo to "Old Folks" almost becomes a vocal with its powerful statement. This memorable duo date will easily stand up to repeat hearings.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s

A guitarist of significant musical relevance, Reg Schwager has spent much of his professional career living in relative obscurity in Toronto, Canada. A distinctly singular voice on his instrument, Schwager's playing reflects a thorough understanding of the entire history of the genre, from the pre-swing through the free jazz movements (Schwager spent time studying with pianist Cecil Taylor.) Considered a child prodigy, Schwager was already performing in Canada with vibraphonist Peter Appleyard...
Full Bio
Live at Mezzetta, Reg Schwager
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