Men on Wire, the title of Chris Garrick and John Etheridge ’s new album, was inspired by the high-wire walker Philippe Petit, who danced on a wire between New York’s Twin Towers.
The daring of the title is evident in the music. Two men improvising on wire strings to create a sound that is both, spare and visceral, reflective and lyrical. This is a well-produced album – when I listened I felt as if they were in the room.
Chris Garrick is a leading jazz violinist. John Etheridge is a jazz guitarist who defies categorisation, having played with so many from Grappelli to Soft Machine. They have produced many excellent albums together and yet still manage to surprise.
The set on this album ranges from classic jazz standards: Blue Moon, Let’s Fall in Love to pop tunes, Peter Gabriel’s Mercy Street and Burt Bacherach’s Alfie. They bring something new to each tune. There are a couple of Garrick’s own compositions, including Undecided– an exciting combination of John’s urgent improvisation and Garrick’s warmest sounds. A joyful version of Adbulllah Ibrahims’s Msunduza is underpinned by Garrick’s pizzicato and Etheridge’s evident affinity for African rhythm. Garrick’s range is particularly well expressed on the poignant theme tune from Clint Eastwood’s 2008 film Gran Torino.
Men on Wire features two musicians who clearly enjoy both their collaborations and the opportunity to push boundaries. They play Pizza On the Park on April 7th .
Expect, above all, the unexpected.