Jazz group Twin Danger’s debut album of the same name hit the top of jazz charts, and for good reason. Formed by Vanessa Bley and Stuart Matthewman, their music is equal parts classic and innovative. They met thanks to an introduction from Estonian pop singer Kerli, with whom both musicians had previously worked, and it wasn’t long before their friendship turned into a musical partnership.
The duo brings some serious experience to the table, though their backgrounds vary. Vanessa is the daughter of the great jazz pianist Paul Bley and a member of Brooklyn rock band Beast Patrol, while Stuart is a founding member of the iconic band Sade as well as the instrumental offshoot Sweetback. Twin Danger is a true collaboration, and the combination of their creative talents allows for musical exploration and ingenuity both in the studio and on stage.
Their original songs evoke the seemingly effortless flow of so many jazz traditions, but with an edge. As Bley’s sultry voice weaves in and out of Matthewman’s liquid melodies on saxophone, one is simultaneously transported to both an obscure European jazz club and the bluesy streets of New York.
They refer to their music genre as Not what you expected. Just what you needed. –– which is certainly the case on their unexpected cover of “No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age. The sentiment is further echoed by their band name, which comes from the concept of alter egos. “We’re making music to get lost in,” says Bley. “It’s warm and beautiful but there are dark undercurrents revealing fundamental issues of the self. That’s what makes it Twin Danger.”