Nick Sanders & Logan Strosahl – Janus

Nick Sanders & Logan Strosahl – Janus – Sunnyside Communications SSC1469, 41:40
An intriguing release.
(Nick Sanders – piano; Logan Strosahl – alto & tenor saxophone)

You have to give credit to Nick Sanders and Logan Strosahl for getting this album entitled Janusreleased. Imagine, if you will, the pitch meeting with Sunnyside Communications wherein the duo wanted to record a disc that would feature their interpretations of music from medieval, Baroque and contemporary classics, as well as bebop and modern jazz. Clearly the individuals in charge of the label thought it was worth the risk.
Both Sanders and Strosahl are first class musicians having graduated from Boston’s New England Conservatory. This is where they first encountered each other and started playing together. Clearly, they are like-minded and highly accomplished collaborators as evidenced by the first track entitled “Sigma.”  This original composition by Nick Sanders flits along the jagged edges of classical/free jazz at a confident pace.

Diving into jazz’s oblique territory with Thelonious Monk’s “Thelonious,” the duo demonstrates their comfort with the number as they tackle Monk’s stylistic intricacies. Another number that falls into this category is the composition “Be-Bop Tune” by the two principals, that has some Monkian references but is nevertheless tastefully inventive.

Olivier Messiaen is a 20th-century French composer whose compositions are rhythmically intricate with sounds and textures that fall within the abstract. His Selections From Vingt Regards Sur L’Enfant-Jesus is one of his exploratory compositions that challenges the players and they deliver a forceful rendition of this complex classical piece. The duo returns to a more ruminative place with their interpretation of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust.”  They cover the tune with agility and lyricism.
This is an intriguing release for those with an exploratory ken.