Simone Dinnerstein, Tift Merritt: Night (Sony Classical)
I am not sure how these two musicians from completely different realms got together to collaborate on a concept album loosely about ‘Night’. But this is their first effort where Merritt comes from a folk Americana background while Diinnerstein is a Juliard-trained classical pianist.
As a singer songwriter Merritt is used to toying and playing around with her music while Dinnersein had to tackle the notion of playing without sheet msuic.
Anyway, the joint effort pays off nicely on this adult contemporary music that is being marketed as a classical crossover album.
The ladies are accompanied by just Merritt’s acoustic guitar/vocal and Dinnerstein’s piano but they explore some interesting musical intersections on Night.
There are too many highlights to mention but their version of Franz Shuberts Night & Dreams kicks things off on this eclectic disc that covers Billy Holiday’s Don’t Explain, the traditional Wayfaring Stranger, Brad Mehldau’s I Shall Weep At Night and Bach’s Prelude in B Minor from The Clavierbuchlein.
My fave collaborations include the instrumental jazzy riffing on Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne (The Cohen Variations) and a closing near full-on pop take of Johnny Nash’s early ’70s evergreen I Can See Clearly Now that closes out Night and suggests the breaking of a newly realized dawn.
A fine collective effort that beguiles throughout.