When you choose to invite a player like Brad Mehldau to begin your first CD as a leader with five duets, you have to be cravenly commercial, a masochist, or utterly selfless. I'll take door number three. There's no denying the musical chemistry between the pianist and the 41-year-old Polish-born bassist Oles, who wrote eleven of the 12 cuts on Like A Dream. Like a lot of the material on Cryptogramophone, the tunes veer dangerously close to the cloying (perhaps the influence of the late bassist and composer Eric von Essen, whose spirit hovers over the label). But also like the Cryptos I've heard, the sensitivity and great musicianship of the players involved redeems the performances and lifts them to a fairly rarefied musical world. That's where the duets with Mehldau belong - a standard ("You Don't Know What Love Is" taken in seven), a blues, a Latin-flavored piece, and the title cut. It's a gorgeous melody placed over harmonies that move with Bachian balance and poise. That's a mode of expression that suits Mehldau, and he makes the most of it. The seven selections by two different Los Angeles quartets are scarcely less good, with Larry Koonse's wistful Abercrombian lyricism and a cameo by old friend Bennie Maupin, the highlights. But it's the writing tnd the duets that get your attention on Like A Dream, a CD that should help Oles make a name for himself, however long he chooses that name to be.