Bass & Mandolin
Thile and Meyer have a working relationship that goes back a decade though this is just their second duo album – another gorgeous offering of country/bluegrass motifs draped across a contemporary classical setting, just the two players and personalities – just their instruments (as understated and defined as the title). Meyer has worked with Yo-Yo Ma, Bela Fleck, Dave Grisman and Jerry Douglas – to name just a few of the greats. Thile’s main gigs are with the Punch Brothers and the country-pop trio Nickel Creek. He’s also released solo albums and collaborated with the great Mike Marshall.
Here their ideas flow – they both take plenty of opportunities to quietly dazzle, most often their instruments are locked in a dance, working together, supporting, nurturing, making each other look (sound) good. But there are moments when one of the instruments takes the lead. And there are plenty of moments when the bass takes on new roles – guitar, piano, cello. Likewise, from the mandolin Thile is able to evoke guitar, uke and banjo ideas and lines.
Bass & Mandolin is reminiscent of that lovely record The Rite of Strings by Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola and Jean-Luc Ponty.
Gorgeous and delicate and life-affirming – it’s a study in virtuoso playing with taste, an example of tasteful playing with obvious proof of stunning technique and astounding ability underpinning, never – ever – getting in the way.