Jazz Album of the Week: Adrean Farrugia and Joel Frahm bring on Blued Dharma

Jun 18, 2018

June 18, 2018.  Not all duos are dynamic, and jazz duo albums tend to be described as “nice,” or “easygoing.” Blued Dharma is a duo album, and it is fairly relaxed, but the unlikely pairing of Canadian pianist and composer Adrean Farrugia and saxophonist Joel Frahm brings a little extra “cool” to the table.

Frahm is a veteran, widely known for being in total command of his instrument. Farrugia, known for his diverse resume, composed many of the tunes on this recording, and Frahm (a mainstay on the New York jazz scene) was the best partner-in-crime to bring them to life.

The two artists have performed together in Ernesto Cervini’s band Turboprop for a decade. Cervini nails their musical relationship in the album’s liner notes when he describes their playing as “sympathetic and in-sync.”

These guys are totally in sync, whether it’s on Farrugia’s original compositions, or the standards.

The arrangement of Kern and Hammerstein’s “Nobody Else But Me” seems to swing, even though there are no drums. The percussiveness of Farrugia’s playing and Frahm’s elegant style grabs your attention.

If WRTI had a program called “Jazz Coffee House,”* this album would be regularly featured, because it’s that cool. And dynamic.

* Love classical too? Tune in for Classical Coffee House with Debra Lew Harder every Saturday morning at 6 on WRTI 90.1.