Cross Country Album Review…
The smaller the ensemble, the trickier it is to make an album which remains interesting throughout.
William Flynn and Tim Fischer clearly considered this carefully when composing and selecting tunes for their duo album “Cross Country.” The conventional tactics are immediately clear: the album opens with a classic sounding swing tune, “Dawn,” immediately followed by a modern sounding bossa nova called “Wildacres.” After another slower swing tune, “Prince’s Waltz” comes in as the fourth track. Less obvious than the programming techniques are the varied comping styles used by Flynn and Fischer to create contrast and intrigue. Flynn, acting as the drummer, leans toward constant support and motion while Fischer uses more broken rhythms and space. The later creates fantastic moments of weaving and bobbing reminiscent of the 1962 Jim Hall/Bill Evans collaboration “Undercurrent” and the frequent shifts in texture prevent the album from stagnating.
Both guitarists are versed in the historical language of jazz (a Gershwin quote from “Fascinating Rhythm” in “Anacapa” is a fun Easter egg) but you couldn’t be faulted if you mistook either player for a modern purveyor such as Vic Juris or Ben Monder when listening for tone. I’ll concede that “Cross Country” is better suited for a glass of wine by the fire than something you might crank up on a road trip, nuance its strength, but don’t discount the power of two jazz boxes wielded by experts in the art of subtlety.