Hristo Vitchev / Weber Iago: Heartmony (2012)
Sofia, Bulgaria-born/San Francisco-based guitarist Hristo Vitchev and longtime collaborator, Rio De Janeiro-native pianist Weber Iago, have created a work of sublime musicality with Heartmony. A record of intensely lyrical guitar and piano duets full of mysticism, it comprises of seven of Vitchev's originals that are intricately constructed, but allow the guitarist and pianist ample opportunity for improvisation.
Although much of the album, like its cover art, is very impressionistic, perhaps the best example of this is the nostalgic "Memories in Black and White," a piece that conjures illusions of long nights of reminiscing over drinks and musty, faded photographs.
Folkloric influences are apparent on such tracks as the Gypsy-esque "Musica Humana," with its graceful dance of hypnotic piano vamps and the guitar's bluesy tonal embellishments that also hint at both men's classical training. Vitchev's poetic sense exhibits itself on the descriptive yet abstract "Under Trees of Color, Over Fields of Grey" with its surreal imagery of flying over a countryside as Vitchev and Iago interweave long musical threads into a shimmering soundscape of serene beauty.
In addition to being an accomplished composer and guitarist, Vitchev showcases his improvisational skills with his smooth yet complex and profound extemporization on such tunes as "The Last Leaves, which Fell in Fall" and on "The Imperative Expression," the second of the three-part "The Farewell." The latter also features Iago's versatility on its prelude, as he fuses baroque stylings with jazz sensibilities into multifaceted and satisfying pianism, as Vitchev backs him with lush guitar sounds. On the last movement of the suite, Iago's percussive beats and his vocalizing add to its vaguely Levantine atmosphere.
Iago's strong feeling for the blues is evident throughout and is seamlessly integrated into the disc's overall ambience, as heard with his cascade of mellifluous chords on "The Melancholic Heart," matched by Vitchev's gentle yet evocative guitar.
Exquisitely lyrical, although a bit too sweet, this opus brings together multiple musical influences into a coherent and cohesive, multilayered narrative, the momentum of which does not slack from the first few notes to the very last.
Track Listing: Under Trees Of Color, Over Fields Of Grey; Musica Humana; Memories In Black And White; The Last Leaves Which Fell In Fall; Prelude To The Crepuscular Rays; Crepuscular Rays; Preulde To An Act Of Departure; The Imperative Expression; And May We Meet Again; Prelude To A Melancholic Heart; The Melancholic Heart.
Personnel: Hristo Vitchev: guitar; Weber Iago: piano.
Record Label: First Orbit Sounds