Alex Foster/Michael Wolff: Pool of Dreams

Though best known for his gaudy late night gig fronting the studio band for The Arsenio Hall Show, pianist Michael Wolff is also a gifted jazz artist. Here, in a program of striking originals, Wolff teams with saxophonist Alex Foster. It’s a meeting of like minds whose intertwined musings reflect a long friendship and a shared vision suggesting a melding of French impressionism and lyric post-bop harmonics.

Wolff’s “Polly,” for example, is a quietly impassioned line underpinned by pungent harmonics and subtly deployed rhythms. Here, Wolff’s piano is at once orchestral and spare. Combined with Foster’s rhapsodic tenor, it’s a combination whose chamber-like intimacy conjures vivid dreams worthy of either Freud or Jung. Foster’s “No Clouds,” which showcases the composer’s haunting soprano, also includes a stunning strut by Wolff. Along with the seven originals are haunting versions of Monk’s “Misterioso” and Mingus’ “Reincarnation of a Love Bird.” In all, a truly remarkable date by two of contemporary music’s consummate stylists.