Generally when two veteran jazz masters like Rodney Jordan and Christian Fabian collaborate on a project as unique, prodigious and purposeful as the dual upright bass driven Conversations, the promo materials highlight the grand, expansive histories they bring to the moment.
For Jordan, that’s playing with the crème of the crop in Atlanta and being part of the Marcus Roberts Trio since 2009. For the Swedish born Fabian, it’s playing over the years with the likes of Gary Burton, Elvin Jones, Cheryl Bentyne, Chaka Khan, Bob Mintzer and the New Lionel Hampton Big Band as well as leading the Crane/Fabian Project.
But the resumes are secondary to the refreshing, groundbreaking reality of creating an entire recording in A=432hz, the original tuning of A up until Mozart’s time. In creating their 12 track, 48 minute playlist of unique bass only dialogues, the duo was motivated by their intrigue with the long held belief that this original tuning of A had a healing effect on the listener’s body.
This tonal healing concept may be a given in new age/ambient music, but it’s a rare breakthrough for jazz cats, who are usually focused on the art of the groove, the melody, the improvisations, etc. Though the haunting, bowed piece “Despiritu #2” and plucky, easy swinging “Despiritu #4” come late in the tracking and almost seem like outliers among the many engaging Jordan/Fabian originals and thoughtful super melodic renditions of “My One and Only Love” and “Body and Soul,” they’re the two gems most reflective of the healing energy idea.
They were created as “tone rows” in the 12th Century (!) by Hildegard von Bingen, the abbess of a German nunnery. Any project whose creators dig this deep for material and thematic thrust should be praised – and none other than Ron Carter does, when he says, “This CD is a great example that two can make great music.”
He’s referring of course, to the dynamic duality that Jordan and Fabian create throughout, whether they’re plucking sensually or playfully, or bowing to create dashes of melancholy madness. Particularly if you’re an upright bass fanatic, you’ll be having a lot of interesting Conversations about this amazing collection.