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October 1998

Ralph Towner/Gary Peacock
A Closer View
ECM Records

The news release accompanying the advance CD says that three of the pieces in A Closer View are "off-the-cuff joint compositions." One can only guess which three. The most attentive and knowledgeable listener will be unable to tell where composition ends and improvisation begins in this music performed by guitarist Towner and bassist Peacock. The most discerning will not consider it an issue. It is more important that, despite its quietness, the richly textured music flows with uncommon harmonic interest and rhythmic strength.

No one familiar with Peacock's and Towner's many past collaborations will be surprised at their synergy, which may involve ESP. Each is a virtuoso who makes virtuosity servant to the music. Deep intelligence, hard work and complexity went into the conception and performance of the pieces on this album. The listener hears ease and simplicity. As Red Mitchell famously observed, simple isn't easy. Hearing Peacock and Towner, you'd never know it.

Originally published in October 1998
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