Paul Brown & Marc Antoine – Foreign Xchange (2009)

Paul Brown & Marc Antoine - Foreign Xchange (2009)
Artist: Paul Brown & Marc Antoine
Album: Foreign Xchange
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Origin: USA
Released: 2009
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps

01. Feel The Love 4:33
02. Wine Night 4:00
03. Flight Of The Conchords 3:49
04. Foreign Exchange 4:03
05. Brother Earl 3:35
06. On The Down Low 4:22
07. French Connection 4:04
08. What About Bob 4:11
09. Sweetness 3:45
10. Bridges Of Paris 4:13


Since Paul Brown and Marc Antoine are both guitarists, it might be expected that telling them apart on a duo album would be a challenge. In fact, it’s easy. Throughout, Antoine plays a nylon-string acoustic guitar, while Brown plays an electric. Often, they play in unison, but when they play separately, the differing sounds of their instruments identify them, even if their playing styles did not. And those playing styles also distinguish them, especially in terms of approach. To use a sportscasting metaphor, it might be said that on Foreign Xchange, Antoine handles the play-by-play, while Brown provides the color commentary. That is, Antoine, playing far more than Brown (the album really should be credited to Antoine featuring Brown, not to Brown and Antoine), plays more melody, following the contours of the music, while Brown goes in and out, appearing to add short, penetrating solos before leaving the lion’s share to Antoine. Antoine’s playing is characteristically textured and fluid, and as the album title suggests, this French-born Spanish resident employs Continental and Latin styles in the background music, as usual. There is a samba here (“Flight of the Conchords”), an ‘80s-style funk rhythm there (“Wine Night”), and the arrangements boast occasional horn charts and other musical colors, but throughout Antoine and Brown bob and weave, sometimes playing together, sometimes commenting on each other’s attractive runs. It’s the sound of musical friends enjoying a conversation in strings, and the listeners get to enjoy it, too.
Review by William Ruhlmann