David Chenu makes a bold statement with the release of his second album, Two. Unlike all-too-many young musicians who are eager to show off their chops with fanciful displays of speed, dexterity, and bravado, this Austin saxophonist has opted, instead, for a deliberate and contemplative set of original ballads that effectively captures a moody ambiance, one nicely reflected in the album's artful turquoise-and-black design. In eschewing the standard (post)bop and blues format, the listener easily succumbs to the album's wistful persuasion. A delicate, aptly titled "The Waltz" and a slightly Tristano-esque edginess on "The Mixup" provide needed tempo variation. "October" features a spiraling series of solos by Chenu, pianist Evan Jacobs, and the tune's composer, guitarist Jacob Wise, which recalls some of pianist Brad Mehldau's impressionistic work. By trying something a bit unorthodox, Chenu has delivered the antithesis of a sophomore slump.
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