Titled “Waterway,” Blue Griffin 175 is essentially an extended suite inspired by Lake Superior and its environs.Their compositions are tonal with a simple, direct melodic appeal—a few “sophisticated” harmonies and lines surface, but they don’t veer into atonality. They draw on tango rhythms and melodies sometimes; at other times they write with a scenic sensitivity, as when they flowingly capture the sense of being afloat on Lake Superior. Birdcalls, insistent and raucous rather than sweetly twittering, can be heard, and I had the impression that long vanished Native Americans weren’t too far away. While they often write complex parts for both players, they just as frequently present Maret’s improvisations supported by energetic strumming. This imparts a casual flavor, as if the two musicians, who enjoy the great outdoors, took up their instruments for a spontaneous jam session around a campfire, bent on entertaining themselves as well as any local inhabitants, animal, mineral, or vegetable.
by ROBERT SCHULSLAPER