Is there a distinctive NewYork post-bop sound? If there is, does it owe its existence to some common ancestry? To the revolving cast of players who have populated a number of clubs and bands on a rotating basis since the 1990s? To licks, formulaic harmonies, or just a kind of jazz version of the median voter idea to be a little different, but not enough to scare the audience off? To do justice to the question requires on-the-ground experience, and more ventures into the demimonde that residents of the provinces can usually swing. You can gaze wistfully at lovely graphics that remind you that New York City has many bridges, but that they may ultimately lead to familiar destinations. A musician friend of many years says, like it or not, that's where things happen. For sure.
Drummer Ilya Dynov's impressionistic recording, his debutand these are his compositions and his bandreally evoke just that response from a listener. There is something very familiar here, enough to drive someone to a stash of discs in search of an influence, an ambience, even a feeling. And for sure, one thinks, all respect to Valery Ponomarev, "Our Father, Who Art Blakey." But unlike say, "One for All," Dynov's is not really a front-line horn band, although trumpeter Alex Norris has been a familiar figure among New York-based trumpeters for quite some time. Lonnie Plaxico played with Blakey in the 1980s, and graced some of his later recordings. Then there is Jihee Heo, a Korean pianist of different vintage and of a lyrical, subtle touch, someone who looks more to the future. And drummer Dynov ties all of this together in a kind of minimalist package that seems quite promising, if not yet fully assembled. The result is a very intriguing recording.
The "Intro" to the recording is Dynov on drums, perhaps a little understated and sparsely decorated. But there is nothing understated about "Constellation," which is in four, but manages to feel out of kilter sometimesin a good way, with odd triplets. "Drum & Berries" is a little more straightforward, but swings nicely, if subtly, with Jihee Heo and Lonnie Plaxico moving things along. Plaxico has long been a treat to listen to and here keeps it up. "For Those We Love" is a solo vehicle for Alex Norris, tightly muted, in three. "Blue" kicks in with a press roll, but soon enough stretches into a... well, twelve bar blues in which everyone but Norris gets a taste. "Hope Through Sadness" is a crystalline ballad for Heo, who gets to develop her ideas and her fluid touch throughout. "Bridges" is back to front-line horn, with Norris showing some chops, even if the ideas are familiar. "68th Street" gives Heo and Plaxico a chance to shine again at a soft tempo. "Finale"" closes things out in much the same vein as "Intro."
Ilya Dynov writes very pretty tunes. Jihee Heo probably is featured to best advantage, although having Lonnie Plaxico hold the fort can make even a superb pianist sound better. Alex Norris offers a change of pace to what would otherwise be a standard trio sound. Dynov obviously had a structure in mind for putting this program together. Even if its intent is not always obvious, the music and the players are more than enough to carry the project along.
Intro; Constellation; Drum and Berries; For Those We Love; Blue; Hope Through Sadness; Bridges;
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