This seems to be Eddie Duran’s first album as a leader since his 1957 quartet date for Fantasy, which deserves to be reissued. Duran has been a stalwart of the San Francisco scene for more than four decades. He is a favorite of other guitarists. He recorded often with Vince Guaraldi and Cal Tjader and later with Tania Maria. He was an important part of Tjader’s celebrated Fantasy session with Stan Getz. Duran’s guitar playing is fleet and understated. His soloing is inflected with wit and, especially in the Latin pieces, irresistible swing. His wife, Mad, is a multi-saxophonist and flutist whose work on tenor has substantial traces of Getz and Hank Mobley, hints of Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz and, most important, a distinct personality. Her soprano and alto playing, with a slight graininess that echoes her tenor tone, is equally impressive. She has fine flute solos on “Besame Mucho,” the title tune and another Eddie Duran composition called “Quesadillas.”
Duran’s new tuning of the guitar as a B-flat instrument gives it a generally deeper aspect. It creates a simpatico tonal relationship with Mrs. Duran’s tenor saxophone and a striking contrast to her higher-pitched horns. His resourceful chamber arrangements of “Daahoud,” “Symphony Sid Samba,” “Don’t Be That Way,” “Budo,” “CTA” and other jazz standards give them attractive new guises. In separate sessions, the Durans get fine support from pianists Al Plank and Mark Levine, drummer Vince Lateano and percussionist Raul Ramirez, and bassists Scott Steed and Mark Van Wageningen. This album wears well. Mad Duran is a find.