A Narrow Escape is a duo recording by friends Vasilis Xenopoulos and Paul Edis. Their musical association of many years continues to evolve and this new CD, recorded in one day in August 2015, is a fine example of jazz as a conversation, of communication born of mutual respect and countless gigs together.
Tenor saxophonist Xenopoulos has established a reputation as a leading interpreter of the Great American Songbook, pianist Edis similarly embraces the tradition. Both musicians write and arrange material for their own ensembles and others. A Narrow Escape should, perhaps, be seen as a snapshot in time, skills honed and harnessed to produce a CD flowing with ideas. Nine tracks, of which two are original compositions, follow a standard format; one of the duo stating the theme, the other developing a solo. The head-solo-head format is a tried and tested formula and Xenopoulos and Edis clearly take the view that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
It Could Happen to You/Fried Bananas introduces the duo. The juxtaposition of a Jimmy Van Heusen standard and a Dexter Gordon bop chart indicates the thought process; good tunes, regardless of origin, made the cut. Fats Waller’s Jitterbug Waltz stakes a claim, as does Bobby Timmons’ Dat Dere. Two tunes polls apart, to some ears. To the duo of Edis and Xenopoulos such rigid categorisation matters not. The title track – A Narrow Escape – is a Paul Edis composition. It stands comparison with the many familiar numbers on the recording, as does Xenopoulos’ Piazza Navona. Gershwin’s Someone to Watch over Me is given a most sensitive reading and the closing track, Cole Porter’s What is This Thing Called Love? exemplifies the subtle sense of swing which is present throughout the forty-seven minutes of the recording. This end-of-year new release makes A Narrow Escape a late contender for album of the year.
For further details and to purchase a copy of A Narrow Escape visit: www.vasilisx.com or www.pauledis.co.uk.
1 It Could Happen to You/Fried Bananas 5:10
2 Dat Dere 5:59
3 I Won't Send Roses 5:09
4 Piazza Navona 4:18
5 Someone to Watch over Me 5:39
6 A Narrow Escape 3:26
7 Jitterbug Waltz 6:33
8 A Time for Love 6:49
9 What Is This Thing Called Love 3:59