OPAL DREAM is the result of a musical affinity and personal friendship that has existed between saxophonist Howie Smith and pianist Mike Nock since they first met and performed together on a concert in Sydney, Australia, in 1988.
Although known primarily as jazz players, both men are complete musicians and composers, comfortable in many settings and styles. In addition to straight-ahead jazz both have worked in the worlds of chamber music, jazz-rock fusion, electronics, the avant-garde, and ballet. Most importantly, as demonstrated on this recording, both are superb improvisers not limited to any one of those fields.
OPAL DREAM includes five songs by Howie Smith (COUNTERCLOCKWISE; SAIL; TO BE, ORNETTE, TO BE; WAYNE'S WHORL and OPAL DREAM), two by Mike Nock (EVER DISTANT and FALLEN ANGEL) and a beautiful ballad by Charlie Mariano (HE'S GONE). These are interspersed with spontaneously-improvised materials running the gamut from interludes that last for less than a minute EARRATIONAL NUMBER and YIN-YANG), to short, musically descriptive sound pieces (LANDSCAPE, THE MAGIC FOREST and RAG(GED) TIME), to more traditional song-like tracks (SHADOW DANCERS and JAMAICAN RHUMB).
Even though the sounds, moods or styles may be quite different, each succeeding track is a logical bridge from what has been heard before. OPAL DREAM is a CD the listener will want to experience from beginning to end.
The interaction between these two musicians is exceptional. The music is sad, joyful, peaceful, energetic, contemplative, outgoing, serious, and not without a sense of humor. Each of the titles is descriptive of the sounds, pictures and stories these two musicians shared during two weeks of eating, drinking, reminiscing, philosophizing and making music together in Sydney in April 2012.
Hear what they had to say.