Now & Again
The title of this duet recording between the trumpeter Randy Sandke and the pianist Dick Hyman couldn't be more apt. For these two wide-ranging musicians, it's always now and again-both men have established careers that routinely straddle the present and the past with dependable authority and elegance. A satisfying encounter like Now and Again reasserts their mutual embrace of the jazz tradition as well as their persistent creativity; there's nothing that one player can throw that the other can't catch, and then joyfully expand upon. It doesn't hurt that both keyboardist and hornman sound very much at the top of their games.
Durable popular standards ("I Thought About You," "Out of Nowhere") mix with New Orleans chestnuts ("Wild Man Blues," "Weatherbird"), jazz classics (Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring"), intriguing obscurities ("Slow River," a 1927 Beiderbecke feature for Jean Goldkette's band; the Gershwin's show tune "Bronco Busters") and Hyman and Sandke's skillful originals (with the trumpeter's short-but-sweet "Two as One," a particular beauty). The songs are all delivered with an eloquent comfort that flaunts a conspicuous lack of self-consciousness. These men aren't making any ideological points about their inclusive vision; for them, this is business as usual. And business, it's nice to report, is good these days.