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Alexandra Ivanova: Beauty In Chaos

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Alexandra Ivanova: Beauty In Chaos
Classically trained pianist and composer Alexandra Ivanova discovered her passion for jazz in her teens, and was mentored by Lebanese-American jazz pianist, Tarek Yamani. Perhaps as a result of having lived on three continents and speaking six languages fluently, she has experienced a range of cultural influences, giving her an unorthodox approach to her compositions. Those influences often include melding Balkan time signatures, Afro-Cuban claves and Maqam scales. Beauty in Chaos is her debut album; she collaborates with bassist Niklas Lukassen and drummer Nathan Ott.

Ivanova composed four of the seven tracks including the album opener, "Nostalgia." This introduces gentle searching piano which gradually develops into a melodic repeating piano figure. This is broken by a bass break, with the rhythms constantly shifting throughout the eight-minute duration, before the piano takes over and builds the pace. One of the most iconic standards of Arabic classical music, "Enta Omri," features intuitive searching interplay throughout, with an impressive bass break from Lukassen, before moving into a piano exploration. The bass leads into "Awakening"; drums and piano join to introduce the melody which develops through a series of distinct phases, incorporating a series of stylistic and rhythmic changes.

The title song is the only one on the album to feature vocals. Written by Ivanova, it features French-Syrian vocalist, Lynn Adib, providing a classy and polished performance. It has a melancholic message delivered with a light, catchy touch. Ivanova's piano flows over Arabic and Afro-Cuban elements in a standout track. "Ay Isiginda," written by Azerbaijani composer Gambar Huseynli, mixes folk elements with unpredictable progressions. Traditional Icelandic tune, "Krummavisur" is brightly arranged with a clever balance between melody and the changing rhythmic pulses. "Free" features a rippling piano converging with the bass in a gentle end to the album.

Beauty in Chaos is an engaging album which often has a mysterious feel, perhaps born out of the mix of cultural elements. There are moments of beauty in every track, and enough turns and changes in the arrangements to keep listeners entertained throughout. Ivanova is a fluent, inventive pianist and Lukassen and Ott, constantly juggling time and improvisation, provide splendid rhythmic support.

Track Listing

Nostalgia; Enta Omri; Awakening; Beauty In Chaos; Ay Isiginda; Krummavisur; Free.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Lynn Adib: vocals (4).

Album information

Title: Beauty In Chaos (Jazz thing Next Generation vol. 99) | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Double Moon / Challenge Records International


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