Twin Talk’s eponymous release will be their second full-length album, the first released late in 2013. In those roughly two and a half years, they’ve changed their name from Laurenzi/Ernst/Green (“We didn’t want to be a jazz law-firm anymore”), played the Chicago Jazz Festival, and collaborated on a performance with a dance company. Their sound has also changed, evolved without getting away from their identity as a single flexible unit.
Twin Talk pushes itself outside the traditional saxophone trio roles of saxophone = lead, bass = accompaniment, drums = groove. Sometimes, saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi and bassist Katie Ernst share the lead role (“Colorwheel”, “J.J.”) and other times Laurenzi surrenders the lead completely (“Teddy”). And with Ernst singing words on two tracks (“Hush, Hush”, “Living Room”) and wordless vocal on another (“One Foot in Front of the Other”), they invoke a history in jazz of vocalists trying to sound more like instrumentalists and instrumentalists trying to sound more like vocalists. With his trademark tastefulness, drummer Andrew Green carefully chooses which parts of his set best represent the music in that particular moment without letting convention get in his way (“Shorty”).
It’s always good to hear a group coming into its own identity, finding its own space in the scene. This release marks the continuation of that process for these three musicians, as they continue to search within themselves and each other to further develop their group voice. Sometimes, albums on the more introspective side can get tedious and sleepy. Rather than navel gazing, however, Twin Talk seems to say, “Come with us on this journey. Let us be your guides.”