This may seem out of place in a CD review until you realize that Dual Rhythm features the first jazz pianist/psychiatrist since Denny Zeitlin. Along with percussionist/vocalist Ernest 'Ebongo' Bland, the pianist in question, Paul Rosenberg, has put together the duo to work venues in the Maryland/DC area. This is their first recording
These days the jazz duo is becoming more commonplace as performance venues and money continue to dry up, in Maryland and around the country. Dual Rhythm have tried to make a virtue out of necessity by creating the broadest sound pallette with the fewest resources. Their project, as they describe it, is "a high energy duo playing percussive world rhythm music. . . . an effort to create a highly percussive and rhythmic sound in Latin, jazz, and rhythm-and-blues idioms." They admit that " . . . a helpful drum machine helps out at times and never talks back." The influences they cite: Dizzy Gillespie, Jerry Gonzalez, Mongo Santamaria, and Tito Puente among others. Their musical goal ". . . is to sound like a quartet but split the money between just the two of them!" What, nothing for the drum machine?
On the whole they succeed in their goals. Many would have been tempted to include some guests, a bass player perhaps, or some of the saxophonists and flutists who drop by their live gigs to sit in. But Bland and Rosenberg resist this and stick to the sound they present in person, with both its possibilities and its limitations. Its possibilities are a sharp percussive sense, and a unique angle on most of these standards that works most of the time. The limitation is a certain uniformity of timbre; perhaps we should hear more of Mr. Bland's vocals. Anyone who is trying to keep music live on the local level deserves support. This is a good effort.