Both of these guitarists are masters of blues and swing and the territory between, so there’s not much chance anything would go awry in the second installment of their "conversations" backed by a seasoned rhythm section. On the other hand, two guys sitting down comfortably to work their way through tunes like the big-band standard "Moten Swing" and the bop-era "Robbins’ Nest" for the umpteenth time can create only so much excitement.
The fun comes from appreciating the enduring qualities of the tunes as improvisational launching pads, and from trying to tell who has which lines. Robillard, the Roomful of Blues founder who has become a fixture for Canadian independent Stony Plain, is the one bending notes, diving into the blues, and showing just a little human frailty with the occasional mistake. Ellis, 40 years his senior and a member of the "Great Guitars" trio that also featured Charlie Byrd and Barney Kessel, is note-perfect as usual. He displays the subtle guitarist tricks and the sure approach that come only from a lifetime in the biz working with the likes of Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald. A fine guitar seminar, even if it is just another way of putting old wine in a new bottle.