Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved reader experience across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

8

Ondrej Stveracek: Calm

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Veteran Chech-Republic hard-bop saxophonist Ondrej Stveracek, has been a mainstay of the European jazz scene and remains one of the finest proponents of the bop sound, now delivers another outstanding musical statement with the misleadingly titled Calm, since the meat of this date, is far more explosive and fiery than calm in texture. The album's repertoire—all originals (five from the leader, two from the bassist and one from Amsterdam saxophonist Emiel Wienholts)—can be more accurately described as sizzling modern bop with a flair.

The recording features Philadelphia-born and New York-based drummer Gene Jackson, former member of the Herbie Hancock bands and now an educator when not performing or on tour. The quartet also includes long -time band mate and fellow countrymen, bassist Tomas Baros with Slovakian pianist Klaudius Kovac rounding out the foursome. This musical assemblage of talent turns out to be one of the pleasant surprises here as this quartet is tight and produces one heck of a powerful sound.

The album starts out with a hard-bop-tinged original from the leader highlighted by forceful tenor voicings, strong pounding stick work on solo moments from Jackson and delightful key work from the pianist making the tune "Spanish," an excellent beginning to excellent recording. While the overwhelming music here is certainly, of the hard boppish style, there is one beautiful soft spot here and that goes to the Baros composition "Red in Brown" where the saxophonist is warm and gentle and the pianist, sublime.

Stveracek's original "Jin-Fizz" and the title track returns the music to its main theme with more modern pieces like "E.N.T." and "D1" —all percolating with a decidedly hard-bop flair featuring the saxophonist on some of his best solo spots. One of the highlights here, has to be the group's version of the Wienholts composition "King of Saxophone," not entirely a hard-bop piece, this one has a terrific melody that's a tad more mellow but still, features a whaling saxophonist on great flame throwing solos.

The finale piece has a familiar title with "Meditation," but should not be confused with the more, oft-recorded composition from Antonio Carlos Jobim as this "Meditation," has no Brazilian connection and is all Stveracek's resembling the music on this date. This Ondrej Stveracek Quartet comes out swinging with one blistering burner after another showing little respect for the album's misguided title Calm nevertheless, this is truly one compelling session of jazz sure to stir up some excitement. With outstanding musicianship and an energized selection of music worth repeated spins, saxophonist Stveracek has another winner of a recording on his hands, certain to get serious attention.

Track Listing: Spanish; Red in Brown; Jin-Fizz; Calm; E.N.T.; King of Saxophone; D 1; Meditation.

Personnel: Ondrej Stveracek: tenor saxophone; Gene Jackson: drums; Klaudius Kovac: piano; Tomas Baros: acoustic bass.

Title: Calm | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Contra la indecision CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Vessel in Orbit CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Pulse/Quartet CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Sing House" CD/LP/Track Review Sing House
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 30, 2017
Read "The Spirit Of Piteşti" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Piteşti
by John Sharpe
Published: October 25, 2017
Read "Live At The Magic Triangle" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Magic Triangle
by John Sharpe
Published: January 13, 2018
Read "Serious Play" CD/LP/Track Review Serious Play
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Morning Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Tied Together, Not to the Ground" CD/LP/Track Review Tied Together, Not to the Ground
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 9, 2017