“Griffmadar” by Nick Roth / Yurodny
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Evenset (Diatribe Recordings) by Nick Roth / Yurodny
Good quality chamber jazz of the world folk infusion. Sounds with a long history, newly entwined with something borrowed and something blue. Classy and clever composition, the unison playing is first-rate.
Yurodny isn't your typical funerals-and-wedding-party Balkan big-band. For starters, it's made up of Irish traditional musicians, a Russian violinist, an English saxophonist, and an Italian accordionist who doubles on Arabic percussion. Nevertheless, when this nonet lets rip it's a match for anything Goran Bregovic could conjure. The infectious grooves, tight unison playing and searing violin of Oleg Ponomarev on tracks like "Balkantown" and "Red Hora" are exhilarating, but in the main the music is more about mood and combinations of sounds than freewheeling virtuosity. Half a dozen guest musicians—including saxophonist Gilad Atzmon, here on clarinet—contribute a variety of textures.
The lyrical introspection of the title track and pianist Francesco Turrisi's alternatively beautiful and tortured lament "Folia" are elegant statements of a meditative nature. "Griffmadar (Rantott Kolbaszos)," with its potent mix of jazz abstraction and poignant strings occupies modern classical terrain, as does the stripped down, cello-led "Mahazor (The Absolute and Four Ages)." "Crude Black Strap" is a hushed dialog between saxophone and strings with a faint undercurrent of electronic rustling. The ghostly strings of "Scrub Systems" have an otherworldly, hypnotic quality.
Evenset is surely one of the most significant releases to come out of Ireland in decades. The coming together of jazz, classical and eastern traditions is hauntingly and seamlessly realized.
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