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On first appearance, and knowing the historical track record of the venerable Leo Records label, my immediate assumptions were that of “free-jazz” accordion-trumpet duets. Well, after the first listen this writer’s initial postulations were proven incorrect, as “Chonyi Together” is a strikingly unique affair, which gets high marks for ingenuity and charm. Russia’s Vyacheslav Guyvoronsky (trumpet) and Evelin Petrova (accordion) stretch the boundaries of imagination and articulation as they perform captivating and all-consuming duets for trumpet and accordion. The compositions are generally affable and quite entertaining.
Mr. Guyvoronsky is a conservatory trained musician who has released several obscure LPs in his native Russia while the amazing Evelin Petrova has very little modern jazz or improvisational experience. The CD liners state Guyvoronsky’s long running affinity for duet settings. On “Chonyi Together”, the results are at times mind-boggling and uncannily intuitive on all accounts.
“Still Life” opens with Guyvoronsky’s unorthodox trumpet phrasing featuring grunts and groans through his mouthpiece yet Guyvoronsky displays traits that equate to a modern jazz stylist via extended notes, vibrato and sublime melodicism. The festivities become joyous and vibrant as Ms. Petrova chimes in and provides the underlying chord structures through her accordion. This duo is clearly in synch as in “Pastorale” while Guyvoronsky’s upper register choruses offset Petrova’s adept mid-register accordion work. Here, the themes elicit images of marionettes performing on some makeshift stage, as the picturesque implications become remarkably life-like. On “Spanish Waltz”, Guyvoronsky shows his classical/conservatory chops coupled with modern jazz sensibilities as he performs harmoniously with dexterous and linear phrasing while Petrova’s accordion is a perfect match with engaging and flowing melodic choruses.
Throughout, Petrova sounds like a band within a band as she often handles the rhythms, textures and complexities which parallel Guyvoronsky’s acute trumpet work. Many of these pieces feature lovely well-stated melodies besides the intermittent soloing and “call-response” motifs as prominently displayed within the title cut, “Chonyi Together”. The highly artistic approach and stylizations are not quite as “heady” as some may think. On “Bow” Guyvoronsky displays more formidable jazz chops as Ms. Petrova comps using her left hand for the rhythm and right hand for chord progressions as they frequently engage in some difficult unison lines or passages.
Every so often something unusual or non-conforming comes around and the desirable results are not always achieved or hit the mark. “Chonyi Together” succeeds in illustrious fashion while kudos go to Producer Leo Feigin for his extraordinary insight and ability to develop and/or recognize unique talent. ****