Neither quite rock, nor quite jazz, both men believe in a music with immediacy, with authorship, and without boundaries or safety nets. Their instant compositions resonate with happy coincidence, brilliant technique, human accident, unforced error, missed chances, astonishing good luck, hidden intentions, oblique references and the full catalogue of happenstance that is mirrored in all human existence, and is just the kind of place in which both men can live and breathe and have their being.
Drummer Bill Bruford and Dutch pianist and keyboardist Michiel Borstlap have performed together as duos on a very occasional basis during the past few years. The music on In Two Minds features the two old friends at four live concerts from 2006-2007 that were performed in England and Norway. All of the crowd noise and applause has been edited out, so it sounds like a studio set. However very little editing and no overdubbing or mixing took place, so this is an accurate reproduction of the live performances. Borstlap and Bruford perform 11 free improvisations plus Miles Davis' "All Blues." While the playing is spontaneous, it is often melodic with a logical development and plenty of variety. A few of the selections have such strong structures that they almost sound like a standard. Some of the other pieces mostly set moods, emphasize color or have one basic idea or plot. The results are consistently intriguing and rewarding.
This double-CD has 24 different groups of fusion musicians (including some from Europe) paying tribute to Weather Report. Despite the personnel and often the instrumentation changing from track to track, there is a unity to the project and many of the bands sound quite a bit like Weather Report, either purposely as part of the tribute or naturally. The programming is somewhat random and the bands bring back the sound, grooves, and spirits of Weather Report rather than necessarily always sticking to their compositions. All in all, this is a heartfelt and very well-played tribute that can also serve as an introduction to a cross-section of some of today's top fusion musicians, many of whom are not household names yet.
Throughout his career, Count Basie was modest about his own abilities as a pianist, and his success at streamlining his style to the bare essentials often made listeners underrate his playing talents. This 1974 session was a rarity, an opportunity for Basie to be featured in a trio setting (with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Louie Bellson), during which he provides enough variety to hold one's interest and enough technique to lead many to reassess his piano skills.