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Using range of style, instrument and emotion, Hammond, along with several other California artists, builds steady, climaxing anticipation on Duets. “An Empty Garage,” which pairs Hammond’s weeping guitar with Alecia Sanchez’s airy vocals, is heart-wrenching. Sean Hale’s bass work on “Reviving the Old Rooster” results in reserved composition, sleazy enough to relay danger. “Stalingrad?,” with Vince DiFiore on trumpet, is sprawling, angelic and devilish, while interplay between Hammond’s banjo and Alex Jenkins’ tabla on “Power Outage” tells a quiet story that ends in excitement and frenzy. This isn’t showy, big-stage jazz, nor is it bookish, cluttered jazz—and at times it’s hardly jazz at all. Simply put, Duets is fascinating, truthful and full of wild, yet expertly controlled temperament.