Dan Barrett and John Sheridan: Two Sleepy People

Considering the musical resources available to a duo of any composition, the union of trombonist/cornetist Barrett and pianist Sheridan has produced a set of performances that maintain variety and interest from beginning to end. Both men are veteran exponents of the several courses that jazz has taken since the early 1920s, and, although they are each more than capable of staying within orthodox parameters of, say, the New Orleans, Chicago, or Kansas City-styled genres, here they concentrate on the performance of 14 mid-period tunes, only one of which, Sheridan’s swinging solo version of Armstrong’s “Heah Me Talkin’ to Ya,” could be considered a jazz classic.

The other numbers include such unlikely blowing material as Hank Williams’ “Hey, Good lookin'” and Larry Clinton’s “Whoa, Babe!,” but for the most part their playlist consists of long overlooked pop gems from the 1930s. Tunes such as “I Like the Likes of You,” “Remember Me?,” and “Why Do I Lie To Myself About You?” offer wonderful potential for both expressive melodic statement as well as harmonic improvisation. They should be heard a lot more often. In addition to these, there is also the Billie Holiday medley, which consists of “They Say,” “One Never Knows, Do One?,” “Foolin’ Myself” and “What A Little Moonlight Can Do.” Sandwiched at either end, the title tune benefits from two quite different expositions, one on cornet and the other on trombone.

-Jack Sohmer