Ukrainian pianist Misha Alperin’s commissioned work simply entitled Night
presents a contrast from the norm in the way most audiences think of jazz orchestrations. Without “big horn sections, lots of noise, electric instruments, or special guest stars...”, the ensemble quietly but profoundly consists of piano, violincello, and percussion to deliver its theme. The silent absence of pretentious music mirrors Alperin’s vision for the suite: The musical symbolization of the “intense silence of night”, with abrupt intrusions of noise, such as a slamming car door, or an approaching thunderstorm.
Night was performed and recorded live in 1998 at Vossa Jazz Festival in Norway. As customary with ECM recordings, the sound is exquisite, and emphasizes the theme for the listener to experience. Alperin's arranging and composing skills are brought to life as the selections create the moods and feels of various night visions. The opener “Tuesday” plays out in somber and moving waves with the violoncello’s dark notes. Strange and wonderful things also occur when the sun settles, which is implicated on the spirited piece “Second Piece” with its marimba/piano/violin dueling. Anja Lechner plays beautifully with deep and dark tones from the violincello. Percussionist Hans-Kristian Sorenson brings an assortment of sounds with drums, bells, chimes, wood, and whatever else is at hand to bring vibrancy into the music. “Heavy Hour” plays out like a nocturnal visit into some unknown land with its tribal chants, percussive energy, and chilling string work. The suite ends with the beautiful and intriguing “Far, Far ....” It moves like a passing storm in the middle of the hours of darkness. Striking, complex, and full of energy, Night is an illuminating piece of music.
For more information on the artist and label follow the link: ECM Records