Dori Levine, voice | Ed Littman, acoustic guitar
Produced by Dori Levine and Ed Littman
Tracklist: 1.Pound Cake (Lyric version by Dori Levine) 2. It Might as Well Be Spring 3. Do I Move You? 4. Bye Bye Blackbird 5. Deep Creep 6. But Beautiful 7. Tailgate 8.Foolin Myself 9. Swipstitch10. Over the Rainbow
“Levine approaches each song with originality and inventiveness… and injects creative spirit into every note” – Frank Rubolino, Cadence Magazine
“Littman is charged with improvisational daring” – Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times Writer
A fresh and inventive take on the guitar and vocal duo format
has appeared from Dori Levine and Ed Littman in the form of their new CD, Click. It is a title that aptly describes the degree to which the two musicians connect. Littman’s acoustic guitar work employs a crisp, snappy attack and a sense of propulsion behind Levine as noted on “Pound Cake.” Here and throughout, the vocalist’s sense of humor becomes another tool in her bottomless bag of tricks. This opener on which Levine wrote the lyrics, right away demonstrates her ability to interact with the guitarist, as she often plays the role of another instrument. The takes on “It Might As Well Be Spring” and “Bye Bye Blackbird” use a similar approach in opening the performances with syncopated scatting and percussive string effects. Both songs also showcase a style of delivery from Levine that bears the stamp of American folk music, one that reveals an individual approach. On the former, Levine lays way back on the beat and draws out the lyrics over Littman’s bossa nova strumming. The latter distinguishes itself with a much lengthier introduction, and the tune itself appears somewhere around the three and a half minute mark. Both are quite original and almost impressionistic. Nina Simone’s “Do I Move You?” is in a country blues mode with Littman plucking hard and bending strings. Levine is up to the challenge as she toys with dynamics and some emotive singing. Both musicians stay true to the style with idiomatic phrases reminiscent of originators like Robert Johnson. “Deep Creep” is the first of three completely improvised pieces, and it finds Littman out front for several phrases.
Levine joins in later, staying in a limited vocal range, with phrasing that floats over Littman’s eerie chords and intervals that are played on the lower strings. “But Beautiful” is treated to a tender introduction from the guitarist and a rubato reading of the lyrics. Here, Levine takes great liberties with the melody as Littman plays interesting counter lines, the two taking time to alternate leading and following their partner in the dance, with sublime results. “Tailgate” is improvised and features the guitar repeating a rhythmic phrase that leaves space Levine to fill in with various vocal sounds. sustains long phrases that include held notes, strange effects, yodels, and scatting – all while in a heated three-minute exchange with Littman’s guitar. “Foolin’ Myself,” a shuffle, is a short sweet example of how these two complement each other so well musically. The final improvised piece, “Swipstitch”, the longest at ten and one half minutes. Littman rubs and scrapes his strings rapidly. Levine squeaks, cackles, wines, in the beginning before an abrupt halt. This moves into light interplay with the two walking on eggshells. You may find yourself giggling about one third of the way into this piece, as the sounds become truly comical.
However, this is a great example of musicians ridding the music of all pretenses favor of creative interplay and living in the moment. On the closer, “Over The Rainbow”, Levine’s lazy reading of the melody is supported hand-in-glove by Littman’s guitar. Click is a testament to approaching music with a sense of humor and fearlessness, and duo has achieved some fine results. — by Joe Knipes, Jazz Improv Magazine November 2006
CD version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)
MP3 version (62.27MB zip download)