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Matthew Ruddick

Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Friday, 03 February 2023 19:33

Chris Allard and Ross Stanley – Tortugas

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Guitar and piano duo.

Listening to Tortugas brings delights of complexity and simplicity in equal measure. Guitarist Chris Allard and pianist Ross Stanley demonstrate the ease of a musical relationship that began more than 20 years ago. The two instruments meld together and drift around each other, allowing the true duo nature of individual and collective creativity.

Inspired by a photo Allard took of a rock that looked surprisingly like a turtle, even the title of this album displays the duo’s imaginative drive. Tortugas is a collection of original tunes and some that are more familiar.

The original tracks - Waltz for Libby, Critter, Tortugas and Grand Lament -  take the listener through a selection of styles and genres that allow the duo to each perform collectively and individually.  The title track in particular combines guitar and piano beautifully, expressively and sometimes the lines interweave so much that it’s hard to separate them. This is writing by and for a duo that clearly know each other’s dexterity and skill.

Listen to Tortugas here:

Meanwhile, the standards the pair have selected are equally appropriate and delivered with panache - particularly Cole Porter’s lesser-known Use Your Imagination.

This album brings joy in a musical collaboration that began at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2000. Allard and Stanley have performed together live and on albums - with a huge range of artists and across genres.

Tortugas is a collection of pieces that show guitar and piano off as just as brilliantly as it shows the duo in collaboration.

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