DUETS, anyone? Two new releases offer an interesting contrast in guitar tandems. "Together," by Larry Coryell and Emily Remler, is a lightly swinging affair made up mostly of standards and highlighting the genuine musical rapport these two have developed in a surprisingly short time.
With his sharp attack and fiery improvisatory spirit, Coryell turns out to be a nice foil for Remler's warm tone and more relaxed phrasing. For all their differences, the two work splendidly together on tunes as varied as Coryell's "Arubian Nights," Clifford Brown's classic "Joy Spring" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "How Insensitive." And unless you're really listening for it, you'll never notice the absence of a rhythm section.
On the other hand, "Tango," by Laurindo Almeida and Charlie Byrd, probably won't hold the interest of jazz fans for very long. With its clipped, emphatic rhythms, the Argentine tango isn't especially well suited to jazz expression; and it lacks much of the gentle syncopation and sensuality inherent in the Brazilian bossa nova music Byrd helped to popularize in America 20 years ago.
Nevertheless, it does take two to tango, and you could hardly ask for a better musical match than Byrd and Almeida. They divide the task of arranging the 11 selections, and each sprinkles enough instrumental felicities among the familiar dance rhythms maintained by bassist Joe Byrd and drummer Chuck Redd to make even "Hernando's Hideaway" sound worthy of reprise.
Along the way, both guitarists retain their own stylistic signatures. Byrd's crisp attack and bluesy phrasing personalize tunes such as "La Rosita" and "The Moon Was Yellow," and Almeida's classical technique is heard to particularly good advantage on the lovely "Los Enamorados."
LARRY CORYELL & EMILY REMLER -- "Together" (Concord Jazz CJ 289).
LAURINDO ALMEIDA & CHARLIE BYRD -- "Tango" (Concord Picante CJP 299); Coryell, Almeida and Sharon Ishkin appear Friday night at the Barns at Wolf Trap.