Are You Awake?
Post-Bop or Post-Modern? There are a lot of labels tossed around in the musical soup known as "jazz" today, but hey - who needs labels? The music on this CD represents two artists exchanging an intense, rich musical vocabulary that began their collaboration back in 2006. Labels can't begin to describe music that moves the heart and mind like this. I first met Troy in 1989 and we realized we both had a shared fondness for Charlie Parker musical phrases. His ability to interpret that Bop idiom and fuse it with his own Wayne Shorter-like fragmented lyricism or a Joe Henderson -inspired tonal color palette gives him a unique voice among our area's saxophonists. When I first saw Keith play at jam sessions at the musically rich and short-lived "Panamonicas" Club in Tacoma, I recognized a guitarist who stood on his own musical ground. One moment he was channeling Mike Stern, prodding sustained distorted lyricism from a Telecaster, while the next he was the new incarnation of Laurindo Almeida, comping simpatico voicing behind each successive soloist during any given evening. That the two met at another area music haven, The Mandolin Café, is further testament to a vibrant music community existing in an ongoing Tacoma, Washington Renaissance. From that initial encounter, Musig and Christensen began working on standards and bringing many of Musig's multi-faceted compositions to life. Ongoing live performances throughout the area have further enhanced their sensitivity as communicators and have strengthened their balance as an ensemble. So go ahead and listen to the duo's debut CD "Are You Awake?" You'll recognize what you need to know - and you'll know that labels won't help you. -Dave Dickerson, December 2nd, 2007.