"Joe Belmont is an exceptional guitarist. He cradles the instrument like it is a living thing." -Daily Hampshire Gazette "Sarah Swersey's playing of the flute could hold you spellbound. A soulful sound." -KFAI-FM * * * "We like to stretch ourselves," says Sarah Swersey. "That's one thing Joe Belmont and I have in common." She could be referring to the yoga classes in downtown Northampton, Mass., where the two regularly run into each other. But no, she's talking about music. Ever since the classical flutist and jazz guitarist began performing together last year as Dúo Fusión, they've been expanding their repertoire beyond all boundaries. They perform J.S. Bach and Gabriel Fauré. They play Miles Davis and Chick Corea. And they venture way beyond jazz and classical to delve into tangos of Astor Piazzolla, bossa novas of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Andean traditional music, a Celtic jig, even a surf guitar classic. "We've found that the people who listen to our music," says Joe Belmont, "like to stretch themselves as much as we do." All of that stretching and more can be heard on 'Dúo Fusión,' the duo's adventurous debut CD. In addition to the music of Bach and Fauré, of Miles and Chick, of Peru and Ireland and Greece and Italy, Sarah and Joe also have a go at "My Favorite Things" and "Manhã de Carnaval," the familiar theme from the film 'Black Orpheus.' The disc is all over the map, yet because of the performers' wide-ranging experience, it holds together as a cohesively eloquent musical statement. Joe Belmont, a veteran of the New England music scene, is widely recognized as one of the region's finest guitarists. He plays an extraordinarily broad range of styles - classical, jazz, flamenco, and rock, to name a few. A native of New York City, he played his first gigs and made his first recordings at age 17, and he has been performing professionally for over 30 years. In addition to Dúo Fusión, Joe plays with the innovative world beat band Viva Quetzal and the acoustic pop group Satinwood, and leads the Wes Montgomery-styled jazz ensemble The Fellowship of Wes. He is on the performance faculty at Amherst College and is director of jazz studies at the Northampton Community Music Center. Sarah Swersey, who also teaches at NCMC, is a more recent transplant to western Massachusetts. She spent seven years in Europe as principal flutist of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain, and toured with the American Soviet Youth Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin among others. Upon returning to her native New York, she performed at such venues as the Lincoln Center Festival and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Shortly before moving to Northampton eight years ago, she began exploring musical improvisation at cellist David Darling's innovative Music for People gatherings. She has since taught improvisation to young classical musicians, exposing them to an approach to music that her own conservatory training never afforded her. "I wish I learned to improvise when I was young," she says. "It helps develop an ear, and even more important, it feels so freeing." Joe Belmont feels the freedom too. "I had classical training and performed classical guitar over the years," he says, "but this project is intensifying my experience with that music as well as the other styles we play. I love what we're doing. And listeners always are telling us, there's something in our concerts for everyone." The same is true for their debut CD.