Henry Kaiser & Paul Plimley With Danielle De Gruttola Passwords

Guitarist Henry Kaiser has always maintained a sense of humour about what he's playing. This was a more overt, wacky sense of humour some years ago with legendary combos Crazy Backward Alphabet and French, Frith, Kaiser, Thompson (in which the usually dour Richard Thompson showed the world his goofy streak, too). Lately, he has toned it down somewhat, the heavily processed Hawaiian guitar squeals that were once his trademark are hardly in evidence at all anymore. Fortunately, one can still hear the smirk on Kaiser's face when the proceedings are really cooking. This attitude really helps when participating in spontaneous musical ventures such as Passwords. In an inspired pairing, he joins B.C. pianist extraordinaire Paul Plimley. As an added bonus, and this disc is significantly better as a result, Plimley and Kaiser are complimented by Danielle DeGruttola on cello. She is the least known player here and appears on about half the tunes, but her contributions are uniformly excellent; she seems to inspire Kaiser and Plimley to their most intense passages. "More Trouble" sees both stringed instruments entwine in an upper register pizzicato fury that proceeds gradually down the octaves into well-defined bass passages by the song's end, as Plimley skitters about on top. Plimley can be as edgy a pianist as any, but on this session he concentrates on improvised melodies and well placed, subtle rhythmic accents rather than brute force. Let's hope that Passwords attracts much deserved attention to Uxbridge's Spool Records. (Spool)