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Dale Bruning with special guest Bill Frisell: Reunion

Reunion, a two-CD set, could have provided a fascinating study in old school versus new school musical values; however, Frisell plays things pretty straight for the most part. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of exceptional playing. Ironically, the pair’s quirky treatment of “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing” doesn’t swing all that much-at least not in the usual way-but instead serves as a platform for some intriguing ensemble work, counterpoint and interplay. In contrast, the reading of Charlie Christian’s “Seven Come Eleven,” here interpreted as a “rhythm changes” tune, grooves mightily overall, as it supports some deft single-note playing by Bruning and some bluesy fretwork by Frisell, who occasionally spices things up with unexpected dissonances. The program concludes with a slow, moody version of “All Blues” that gives each player a chance to test the limits of its basic foundation.

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