Kendra Shank & Geoffrey Keezer

Half Moon: Live In New York
(Ride Symbol)

Vocalist Shank and pianist Geoffrey Keezer are both masterful musicians, and they don’t waste any time getting down to business. “Alone Together” opens up this set—recorded live in a friend’s living room—with an exceptional display of the duo’s strengths. Shank sings the opening verse with a quiet intensity, staying close to the original melody, while Keezer skitters in and out of time, adding unexpected triads to accent the lyrics. He drops a bass line that implies unfathomable ocean currents when Shank sings “our love is as deep at the sea,” then they’re off and running, reinventing the melody. Halfway through, they begin trading phrases, but it’s hard to discern who’s leading and who’s following.

“Life’s Mosaic”—Cedar Walton’s “Mosaic,” reinvented as a hymn to world peace—is particularly impressive. Keezer takes off on a free solo, with hints of Latin and classical music interspersed with a post-bop approach. Shank returns with a scat that suggest a seamless mix of Indian, Brazilian, Cuban and Native American techniques, as if speaking in tongues in her own unique language.