Graham Reid | | 1 min read
But here – in part prompted by some teaching research Nacey was doing for MAINZ where he now teaches after a period at the University of Auckland – they step out as a duo on an album with an appropriate title.
Nacey has appeared on a number of albums which Elsewhere has reviewed but Haines – as we noted a decade ago in an interview – made his emergence on recordings very late in his career.
Haines is a modest man and so measured, considered, discreet and supportive playing has been a hallmark.
But that takes nothing away from the keen intelligence he shows, especially here in this demanding format where there's no room to retreat or let Nacey's fluid guitar become anchorless without him.
At 80 and as a man of his generation – he grew up playing dances in the Fifties then Auckland clubs like the Montmartre – Haines is right at home on the standards here (among them a lovely low-key Stompin' at the Savoy, the swinging All of You, Miles Davis' Blue in Green and You Go To My Head).
But when Nacey offers his tribute to guitarist John Scofield on his slightly mischievous Sco, the shapeshifting Soar or his rhythmically complex original PB, Haines is there adding sinew and strength.
Haines' original Have You Ever Had an Answer? is a wonderful, melodic mood piece where an unhurried Nacey lets the notes and spaces hang in the air in a way which stops just the right side of melancholy and evokes a wistful quality. It's past midnight and there's something deep and sad to consider, a mood picked up by Haines' solo. It's a piece which cries out for lyrics.
Nacey is one of this country's finest, most subtle guitarists and if this began as something academic it certainly doesn't feel that way: Conversations is full of heart and soul.
Kevin Haines has indicated that this will be his final recording. If so, with this engaging collection and the intuitive interplay with Nacey he couldn't go out with more style, taste or applied wisdom.
You can hear this album at Spotify here.