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At home in musical excellence

What Is Enough?
What Is Enough?
By Kevyn Lettau & Peter Sprague

SBE Records: 2009

This review first appeared in Turbula in June 2009.

Back where she started, singing with Peter Sprague's guitar as accompaniment, Kevyn Lettau's voice is as pure as ever, her delivery even more nuanced, the joy every bit as evident as on her first recordings 15 years ago when she first ventured out from San Diego for a successful solo career in jazz. And Sprague (who still lives in coastal North San Diego County) remains one of the pre-eminent guitarists working in jazz today, providing both a vibrant foundation for Lettau's singing and some top-notch soloing.

Running through a set of jazz, pop and Brazilian songs (taking in everything from Jobim to Stevie Wonder, plus a nice selection of Lettau's own compositions), the duo show the kind of inspired interplay that only comes from three decades of artistic familiarity.

Lettau's singing is utterly confident throughout – in caressing a lyric or scatting atop Sprague's melodic lines, she clearly feels the freedom to follow the muse.

Sprague, too, is completely in his element here. Obviously getting a kick out of playing again with his old lead singer from his Dance of the Universe days, his playing is even more inspired than his fans are used to. Switching from picking lithe leads to strumming chord changes behind Lettau, often in the same measure, Sprague turns in one of his best recorded performances yet.

Acoustic guitar-vocal duos are rare enough (although if you can find it, the CD from the Malaysia-based Roger Wang-Mia Palencia duo known as DoubleTake is more than worth tracking down). As performed at this level of artistry and inspiration, it's a once every couple of years treat, if we're lucky.