Steve Abshire/Vince Lewis: Two in the Pocket

Steve Abshire and Vince Lewis first met at Virginia’s Highlands Jazz Festival in 2002, and the ultimate result was this recording, Two in the Pocket (Noteworthy), a fun romp through a field strewn with chestnuts for the most part. Pianist Robert Redd, drummer Mike Shepherd and bassist Tommy Cecil provide expert support. With a collective sound that recalls the work of Les Paul, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis and George Barnes, these duo partners are traditionalists to be sure. Bouncy, swinging numbers like “Undecided,” “Bernie’s Tune,” “Three Little Words” and “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” will have your foot tapping along with their grooving guitar work, while changes of pace come in the form of “Tea for Two,” a tasteful duet sans rhythm section, and “Samba D’Sandra,” written by Shepherd for his wife. OK, so this music is a throwback, but with such fine playing and overall musicianship, lofty values like creativity and innovation somehow don’t seem that important.