The Scenery of Life Unfolding is a piano-bass duo recording by Australian bassist Shannon Birchall and pianist Jeremy Woolhouse. The two enjoyed the inspiration found in the Charlie Haden duet albums he made with Hank Jones (Steal Away (Polygram, 1994) and Come Sunday (EmArcy, 2012)), a spirit very much in evidence on The Scenery of Life Unfolding.
Both musicians are as classically-based as they are in jazz or even popular music, a fact easily heard on the ten selections herein. This is mood music that ranges from the pastoral arco of Birchall's bass on "Echoes in Emptiness" to the cerebral and anxious "Virtual Affection." Moody with an edge of crankiness inhabits "Four Hours Out of Heathrow" where Birchall leads with his bass, spinning a tale of boredom and quelled impatience. Woolhouse’s fills with thoughtful and almost shy micro- melodies over a well established harmonic structure.
"Tears of Summer" sports a slight Latin shade in its rhythm, while the title piece is very much an evolving piece with a wide- open spaces harmony and folk personality. Pretty and unadorned, the simplicity of the piece is its greatest asset. It paints a prairie picture of agrarian life in a simpler, slower time, when things to be enjoyed were savored rather than simply consumed, which may well describe this entire project.
By C. Michael Bailey for All About Jazz