It Takes Two by Kenny Wheeler has been on general issue now for over a year. It was released in June 2006 by CamJazz, the Italian label launched in 2000.
Kenny Wheeler is such an understated and subtle artist, his music is not something the discerning listener jumps carelessly into. His playing has a way of sneaking up on you, of winding its way into your consciousness so, only after some time, do you become aware of how good it is, how perfectly crafted and performed. In addition, on this outing he is accompanied by John Abercrombie, a supremely lyrical and perceptive guitarist and it is apparent time has to pass before a judgment can be made.
Having said that, this is the first of his albums to leave me a just little disappointed. That is not to say there isn't some beautiful music here, some fine playing and performances. A slightly unsatisfying recording would be perhaps be the best description. Outside of Kenny’s flugelhorn, there are the contributions of the above mentioned John Abercrombie, John Parricelli – a British guitarist, and the Swedish bass player Anders Jormin.
Highlights of the album are "My New Hat," a dreamy number that opens with Jormin’s bowed bass striking a distinctly Moorish motif before the two guitars, (electric and acoustic) enter, creating a space over which the flugelhorn floats in its melody. "It Takes Two" follows. It's a typical Wheeler piece of music - the horn uncovers hidden harmonic and melodic spaces, then bends into the upper or lower registers in those sudden turns of which he is so capable, while the guitars trade an almost pizzicato style of soloing and accompaniment. But it is on track three, "Comba Nr 3," that the combined talents of all four musicians come together best. It's a beautiful, haunting melody, full of, again, Moorish hints, southern European folkloric motifs, and the north American urban landscape. The spacing of the instruments, their timing, their presence (and absence at critical points) make the track the prefect vehicle for Wheeler’s unique musical sense.