Here’s a taste of Counterpart new in June on the Naim label from the duo of Australian pianist Sean Foran and Manchester guitarist Stuart McCallum

ECM these days is much too eclectic to easily categorise in an easy way. This release however by the returning Small Town duo of guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan sums up one huge tranche of its style as a label: the intimate turn the lights down low approach the label has so long championed.

Recorded live at jazz shrine the Village Vanguard in New York peppered with Monk tunes as in the title track and a spread of other covers from Doc Pomus and Paul Motian to John Barry and Jerome Kern, Frisell is the dominant lead as you might expect and his quietly triumphant introversion draws out the quirky side of the tunes and lets the melodies breath set against his rickety harmonies and self-effacing charm.

You get the sound of an appreciative audience, the feeling that this is a real concert via the fine album sound and you can almost sense the expectation of the Vanguard audience. Morgan has risen in recent years to become one of the most reliable bassists in progressive jazz settings and has an incredible sense of tone and poise and you get that on this record as well. Enough for now — just rush out and get this when it is released on Friday 12 April.