As a performer, Bulgarian-born pianist Asen Doykin is firmly entrenched within the New York area jazz circuit but has toured the world, spreading good cheer with his inventive fusion of Balkan melodies and the jazz idiom. From a piano trio standpoint, Doykin offers a bit of resplendency and variety to the roads previously traversed. By injecting East European inferences into the progressive jazz scheme of things, the pianist communicates a pastiche of sound-sculpting vistas, often accelerated by drummer extraordinaire Kendrick Scott's sympathetic support. Bassist Peter Slavov anchors the variable metrics with finesse and pizzazz.
Doykin kicks off the proceedings on his Balkan/jazz composition "The Way Back, with a complex but enticing melody line, wondrously counterbalanced by guest percussionist Matt Kilmer's low-tuned hand drum groove. One of the redeeming aspects of this set is centered upon Doykin's acute employment of dynamics. He's apt to glide across the piano keyboard with voracious intensity, while tempering the offsetting flows via his ever-so-soft phrasings.
It's a buoyant endeavor, teeming with off-kilter passages and anthem-like movements. On "Balkans, the trio navigates through sinuously exercised time signatures, accelerated by the pianist's cascading progressions amid the requisite amount of peaks and valleys. Fluid motion and cohesive expressionism are quite noticeable during the preponderance of this entertaining and altogether exhilarating studio session. Given some exposure, Doykin's artsy approach and enviable chops should raise a few ears and eyes within global jazz environs.
Personnel: Asen Doykin: piano; Peter Slavov: bass; Kendrick Scott: drums; Matt Kilmer: percussion (1, 9).