Bill Laurance and Michael League, known globally for their roles in the stadium filling jazz supergroup Snarky Puppy, have collaborated on their first album as a duo, Where you Wish you Were.
What is particularly surprising, apart from the duo format with its reduced, concentrated approach, is the particular sonic and stylistic character of the music. Bill Laurance, who often relies on a mixture of piano and a variety of synthesizers, orchestral arrangements and digital soundscapes, focuses here entirely on the possibilities of an acoustic grand piano. Michael League, known elsewhere primarily as an electric bassist fired up by jazz and groove, plays a number of mostly fretless stringed instruments, first and foremost the oud, but also a specially constructed acoustic and electric guitar and a West African lute, the ngoni. All these instruments have the quality of being able to imitate the voice, and also offer microtonal possibilities which go way beyond the norms of western music.
Where you Wish you Were has nothing of a world jazz fusion album about it, and was never intended to be one. And so it is, as is so often the case in the musical world which is now called jazz, the universe of personal, musical and sonic influences of the two musicians do not serve to set limits or to categorise, but rather as a vocabulary which allows the two musicians’ own distinctive mode of expression to shine through. With compositions focused entirely on melody, harmony and space, a warm sound and the soulful playing of the two players, Laurance and League have created a place which is not just conducive to dreams; it is a place to which the listener will want to return to again and again.
Presented in association with Parrjazz.
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