Twobones-spiral_stairways_span3
May 2000

Twobones
Spiral Stairway
TCB

Add a tight rhythm section to a front line that swings with abandon as well as taste, put them in the proper ambience, and you have the latest efforts of trombonists Danilo Moccia and Paul Haag, captured live at the Q4, a supportive club near Basel. The results could be called "Jay and Kay Redux." Moccia & Haag have their recognizable timbres, but there the dissimilarity ends. They think alike, phrase alike, swing with equal passion and sense each other's detours. When one itches, the other scratches, giving rise to a fascinating ESP: Effortless Swiss Precision.
When they tag a number contrapuntally, each one knows how to fill the other's gaps. Let the rhythm section provide a vamp, and the two bones extend their thoughts without stepping on each other's ideas. In other words, they never stray into each other's "no slide zone."
Best examples: "The Healer," with a jaunty head; "Bernie's Tune," taken at a refreshingly bright tempo; and the ballad "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," with an afterthought that ends in a deliciously dissonant major second.
In the rhythm section: bassist Isla Eckinger, who boasts great intonation on arco; pianist Tutilo Odermatt, whose strength lies in comping; and drummer Peter Schmidlin, who listens to soloists and often echoes their melodic patterns. Oh yeah, he also heads TCB Records, in Montreux.

Originally published in May 2000
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