Steve Rodby and Ross Traut have known each other for the better part of 15 years, which helps explain the precision tuning of the music they make together: on their new album, The Duo Life, they play as if they’re both in the same dream. And when they play together, their music requires the listener to enter that dream too. The music is so quiet, so free of the usual spectacle, that you can’t immediately hear how daring it is. Both Rodby (bassist with the Pat Metheny Group) and Traut (who makes his living in the commercial studios) can play plenty of notes, but each has resolutely sought simplicity in his music; together they pare their arrangements to essences, keep the tempi relaxed but exacting, and use space as if it were the third instrument in the band. In a milieu given over to technical overkill and hyperproduction, this is a radical concept. It’s a little too radical, however, to work in a live club performance–the duo itself is too fragile for the intrusions of weekend warriors–so Rodby and Traut have enlisted drummer Mark Walker and keyboardist Cliff Carter, assembling a tight-knit quartet that lets them rock out a little too. After all, a guy can only stay precisely focused for so long, y’know? Tonight, Saturday, and Thursday through next. Saturday, May 4, Oz, 2917 N. Sheffield; 975-8100.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Robert Lewis.