Two of Philadelphia’s most revered jazz artists unite for an intimate, exploratory duo session on Alone Together, the duo’s debut recording (Dreambox Media). Violinist Diane Monroe and vibraphonist Tony Miceli have been playing together since the mid-1980s, and the fruits of that three-decade relationship are evident throughout their debut collaboration. The album’s thirteen tracks encompass the wide range of the pair’s mutual interests, from jazz to classical, standards to spirituals, originals to classics, and even an unexpected TV theme song. The diverse material the duo selected for Alone Together reflects the breadth of their experiences.
Both Monroe and Miceli have long histories of forging rich collaborations in Philadelphia and beyond. Monroe has bridged the jazz and classical traditions for most of her career. She studied at Oberlin Conservatory, Philadelphia Musical Academy, Michigan State University, and the Curtis Institute of Music. She toured for more than a decade with the Max Roach Double Quartet and the Uptown String Quartet and performed extensively as a member of the String Trio of New York, all ensembles which fused classical virtuosity with jazz improvisation. Over the course of her career she’s played with such renowned artists as Percy Heath, Steve Wilson, Dave Grusin, Joe Lovano, Reggie Workman, Wycliffe Gordon, and Uri Caine, and is currently a member of saxophonist composer Bobby Zankel’s Warriors of the Wonderful Sound big band.
Miceli has been a force on the Philly jazz scene since 1980 while touring the world and mentoring young players as an educator. In 1990 he co-founded the group Monkadelphia, dedicated to playing the music of Thelonious Monk. He is also a member of the PhilOrch Jazz Ensemble, a quartet featuring members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has worked with countless jazz luminaries as both a leader and a sideman, including David Liebman, Jimmy Bruno, Ken Peplowski, John Blake, John Swana, Joe Magnarelli, Steve Slagle, Larry McKenna, and many others.
From All About Jazz: “As this unique collaboration amply illustrates, the sonorities of the violin and vibraphone make a beautiful combination. The violin resonates with emotion, and the vibes have the accuracy of a keyboard instrument with metal bars whose sound resembles bells, so that emotion and intellect are balanced. Monroe and Miceli are adept and resilient musicians of the highest caliber, so they are able to weave their combined sounds into many expressive variations that create “tone poems” and tell stories. For this album, they chose music of diverse genres -jazz standards, classical, folk/country, blues, Monk, and an arrangement (Monroe’s “Wade in the Water”) that defies categorization. Because they are outstanding jazz players, the music always retains the mainstream jazz idiom as its ultimate reference point. This is a finely done and highly listenable album that carries the listener away by evoking images and mental associations in response to the feelings generated. Monroe and Miceli “speak” well not only to each other but to the mind and heart of the listener.”
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