Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Yuri Yunakov and Ivo Papasov. If the latter names don't carry the historic cachet of the other legendary musical partnerships--in this country, at saxophonist Yunakov and clarinetist Papasov were undisputed giants during the 1970s and '80s of the Bulgarian wedding music scene, a crazy quilt genre that freely blends various ethnic folk styles, jazz and rock into a exhilarating sonic kaleidoscope. Yanakov then relocated to the U.S., breaking apart the duo. Together Again marks the former bandmates' first collaboration in a decade. The world may change, but musical ties can remain unbroken: Yunakov and Papasov still respond to each other with blood-brother rapport.
Understatement plays a minor role in this music. Both Yunakov and Papasov are full-throated players with gutsy sounds that could cut across a wheat field, let alone a dance floor. Although their undiminished technical skill is never in question--their unison melody statements call to mind a mingling of Diz and Bird on "Shaw Nuff" and the vintage riffs of the Mahavishnu Orchestra--passion rules when it comes to the co-leaders' improvisations, their solos kicked into overdrive by drummer Salif Ali, a master of the oddly metered rhythms that propel the performances, and the virtuosic accordionist Neshko Neshev. Dance fever, it seems, has struck again.