Review by Tree Palmedo - 

It was a simpler time when this album was recorded back in February. And on the surface, the project seems like a similarly simple affair, with six classic standards and an original tune rendered by a highly competent pianist/vocalist duo. But that pianist, Matt Tabor, and that vocalist, Thea Enos, have used a simple framework to accomplish something quite extraordinary. Through a series of inspired and unexpected arrangements, the duo breathe a bit of magic into each song, making for an engaging listen and a perfect musical balm for troubling times.

Some of the material covered is well-worn territory, such as Juan Tizol’s classic “Caravan.” Tabor rises to the challenge, kicking off the tune with a slow and syrupy introduction before plunging into a fast Latin groove with an evocative new chord progression. Enos’s delivery is appropriately dramatic, her voice swooping over Tabor’s ever-shifting piano textures. Meanwhile, Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” gets a melancholy, Coltrane-esque reharmonization with a sensitive vocal performance and a crisp McCoy Tyner-esque piano solo.

Other renditions are delivered in a more standard mode, but the performances are still engaging: “Almost Like Being in Love,” for instance, gets a brisk bebop treatment that showcases Tabor’s quick-walking left hand. And the title track is a bluesy swinger that lets Enos get loose with vocal theatrics and smoky scat-singing. 

The record’s lone original is also its only solo piano number. Tabor’s “Theaphania’s Smile” is a waltz full of left turns, a perfect showcase for its composer’s cascading lines. As is true of the rest of the album, the piece takes standard musical material and imbues it with craft, heart, and invention.

Purchase this album online!