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Red Hot! by Ebony & Ivory

Here’s something really different. Ebony & Ivory is clarinetist Fred Jacobowitz and keyboardist Andrew Gilpin. The international duo (US and Canada) entertain all over North America. This CD is compiled from Toronto, Nashville, Los Angeles and New York sessions. As this review is typed, Ebony & Ivory finished the taping of a television show for Ontario’s TVO network. Then they are off to St. Petersburg, Florida for a concert at the Museum Of Fine Arts.

The musicians do not claim that Red Hot! is a jazz album. There aren’t enough pigeonholes on anyone’s desk to classify the project. Gilpin and Jacobowitz are truly skilled musicians and play in multiple genres. You’ll hear classical, ethnic, jazz, pop swing and some beautifully executed ragtime.

Jazz fans will particularly enjoy the three items closely associated with the Benny Goodman small groups in the 1939-40 Charlie Christian period. While the duo successfully captures the spirit Goodman Sextet’s music, Gilpin and Jacobowitz make no attempt to sound like Johnny Guarnieri and the King of Swing. The tracks benefit from some rhythm work by Tom Hazlitt and Wilson Laurencin.

The ragtime pieces are both from the pen of Scott Joplin, Maple Leaf Rag and the fascinating Solace (A Mexican Serenade). Both rags are perfectly played in classic ragtime tradition. Andrew Gilpin gets full marks.

The balance of the eclectic album is exactly that, eclectic. It’s a light-hearted and enthusiastic romp through a gumbo of unrelated genres from Hoagy Carmichael’s Heart And Soul to the Hebrew Chassidic Dance. This reviewer loved Sonatina written by the contemporary classical composer Joseph Horowitz. It’s a tiny gem lasting only three minutes.

A high percentage of jazz enthusiasts will appreciate the music of this fine duo and their guests. You can hear samples on the artists’ website.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ebony & Ivory
  • CD Title: Red Hot!
  • Genre: Other
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Independent
  • Tracks: Blue Grass and Green Sky; Lirico; Brisa; Ole; Chassidic Dance; Heart and Soul; Minority; Dreams of You; America; Solace; Red Hot; Sonatina – 2nd movement; Maple Leaf Rag; Air Mail Special; A Smooth One; Benjie’s Bubble; Aes Sedal; Tico Tico; Summertime.
  • Musicians: Fred Jacobowitz (clarinet, saxophones); Andrew Gilpin (piano, keyboards). Guest artists: Dave Weckl (drums); Victor Wooten (bass); Ted Quinlan (guitar); Tom Hazlitt(bass); Wilson Laurencin (drums); Cliff Almond (drums); Rodrigo Chavez (percussion).
  • Rating: Three Stars
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