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Album Review

Pianist Debbie Poryes included multi-reed player Bruce Williamson as a member of the quartet on her first OA2 CD, but on her second CD for the label, it is just the two of them. There are several oft-recorded standards, though none of them sound the least bit hackneyed. The striking extended workout of "Ol' Man River" never loses sight of the famous melody's roots, yet it forges a new route with their spacious, dramatic duet. They incorporate fresh approaches to several timeless jazz works. With Williamson on alto sax, they introduce Wayne Shorter's "Speak No Evil" with a spirited improvisation and wrap the song with a turbulent segue into a soft-spoken conclusion. Their interpretation of John Coltrane's "Moment's Notice" is played at a much slower than usual tempo, with Williamson beginning on alto and finishing on bass clarinet. The Beatles' "In My Life" has become a favorite of jazz musicians and the duet here features Poryes' shimmering piano buoyed by Williamson's understated soprano sax. Their originals are just as strong. Poryes' playful, infectious "You Bet I Do" (with Williamson on flute) deserves a lyric. Williamson's haunting "Lost Souls" is a moving ballad, showcasing his powerful clarinet. Highly recommended.


Born: Berkeley, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A veteran of the San Francisco Bay Area jazz scene, Debbie Poryes is a bop-oriented acoustic pianist whose melodic and introspective playing has been influenced by Bill Evans (the pianist, not the saxophonist), Marian McPartland, Ahmad Jamal, and pre-fusion Herbie Hancock. Poryes has been playing the acoustic piano since the age of five, but jazz wasn't always her focus; growing up in Northern California, her taste in music ranged from European classical to Simon & Garfunkel. In fact, Simon & Garfunkel...
Full bio

Top Albums and Songs by Debbie Poryes

Two & Fro, Debbie Poryes
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  • 8,91 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 19 April 2011

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