London-born composer Tarik O'Regan was only 30 when the second CD devoted to his choral music, Threshold of Night: Music for Voices and Strings, was released. The works collected here show him to have an assured, individual voice; consummate technique as a choral composer; and an ability to create complex music that's not "difficult," that has an immediately sensual appeal. O'Regan's harmonic language is rooted in tonality, but it is richly saturated with chromaticism. He uses dissonance in the old-fashioned way, creating tension that finds satisfying, if unconventional, resolution.
The pairing of electric guitarists Bill Frisell and John Scofield had to be one of the most auspicious since John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana. Acoustic bassist Marc Johnson's stroke of genius in bringing the two together on Bass Desires resulted in a sound that demonstrated both compatibility between the guitarists and the distinctiveness of the two when heard in combination. Add drummer Peter Erskine and you had a bona fide supergroup, albeit in retrospect a short-lived one, before Frisell and Scofield would establish their own substantial careers as leaders. The guitarists revealed symmetry, spaciousness, and a soaring stance, buoyed by the simplicity of their rhythm mates. This is immediately achieved on the introductory track, "Samurai Hee-Haw," as hummable, head-swimming, and memorable a melody as there ever has been, and a definite signature sound.