Contemporary Jazz

VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases

The Rate Of Exchange

06 APR 09 JONATHAN WIDRAN

We've all heard the term "foreign exchange" as it applies to money changing hands and students studying in other countries. Marc Antoine and Paul Brown, two of urban jazz's most inventing and popular chart-topping guitarists, have something a little hipper, melodic and grooving -- not to mention, exotic -- in mind on their highly-anticipated dual CD Foreign Exchange.

In 2008, the Peak Records label mates joined forces on Paul Brown's Guitar Night, a 30-date tour of the East and West Coasts that included stops everywhere from the Berks Jazz Fest to the Catalina Island Jazz Trax Festival. While Antoine and Brown performed some of the shows with fellow guitarists Kenny Rankin and Chris Standring, the focus was on the melodic and grooving yet often intimate merging of the Parisian-born, Madrid-based Antoine's cosmopolitan nylon string vibe with the L.A.-born and raised Brown's funky and soulful electric Gibson L-5. These performances led two-time Grammy-winner Brown, who was in the early stages of producing a follow-up album to his smash 2007 disc White Sand, to ask Antoine to play on one of his new songs.

This initial session sparked a complementary guitar dynamic that led to a full-fledged duet project. The collection's seamless flow, in the pocket songs and inventive give and take derive naturally from a shared professional history that extends back to the late-'80s. Adding to the international feel are guest artists, French-born keyboardist Philippe Saisse, Mexican-American rising sax star Jessy J and veteran keyboardist Gregg Karukas.

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Jeff Lorber - Hacienda