Its exuberance and swing give Starry Starry Night a perfect coda.
Daryl Easlea 2009-03-03
Paul Clarvis – one of the UK's leading percussionists – first met pianist Liam Noble while working with legendary composer Moondog. Although playing on sessions for many artists, they never had the opportunity to record together until the chance arose at London’s Abbey Road in June 2006. Starry Starry Night – a tribute to Clarvis' father – is the result. And most agreeable it is, too.
Their choice of standards is brave in that some frankly have been round the block far too many times. Does the world really need another version of Mood Indigo, The Shadow Of Your Smile or Embraceable You? In this case, maybe, as the duo bring something quite special to the recordings. It's as if they locate the tune’s frailty. Some, such as the normally robust Maple Leaf Rag, are rendered delicate things of beauty that seem as if they would snap if a strong wind blew.
Noble – a jazz piano scholar, acclaimed for his interpretations of Dave Brubeck and Bill Evans – plays with relaxed passion. He trickles around the keyboard and improvises with economy, never making this anything less than a pleasure. You'd think that as Clarvis' name is billed first that this could be some flashy percussion showcase. Quite the reverse: his brush strokes are supportive and complementary, adding to the work's mellow and diverting feel. The album closes with a version of Moondog's Paris, a nod to how the pair met; its exuberance and swing give Starry Starry Night a perfect coda.