95

Plamen Karadonev: Crossing Lines

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Plamen Karadonev: Crossing Lines Pianist and accordionist Plamen Karadonev has been down more than a few musical roads in his comparatively young life—playing folk music on television and radio in his native Bulgaria, studying classical music in Sofia, studying jazz at Berklee, gigging around Boston—and many of these meanderings are echoed in the varied music presented on Crossing Lines, his début recording.

Three particularly strong moments serve to chart the territory represented on this record. First, there are the "outside" tracks, among which the best is "Frohleher Landman." Based on a theme (a.k.a "Fröhlicher Landmann") by Romantic wunderkind Robert Schumann, the number charges along at a furious pace, the rhythm practically but not quite unbridled. Here—as on the title track—the soloists head readily to the outer boundaries of mainstream playing. Hal Crook's electronically treated trombone, in particular, sounds pretty engaging, but would risk becoming nauseating were it being listened to while driving on a winding mountain road.

Not all the numbers in this vein work as well as Schumann's merry peasant. Elena Koleva's vocal on "The Island," for example, won't render forgettable Sarah Vaughan's definitive version on Crazy and Mixed Up (Pablo, 1982), with Sir Roland Hanna on piano, though the leader's accordion playing might linger in the mind. Also in this category: Kendall Eddy's weird arco bass effects on "Rondo à la Bulgar," which is somewhat reminiscent Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo à la Turk," perhaps, in the concentrated, percussive piano solo.

Then there are the less frenetic and more "inside" moments, best represented by a languorous "Night and Day," featuring the core trio of Karadonev with bassist Eddy and drummer Austin McMahon. A sensitive "You Must Believe in Spring," again featuring Koleva, and a lovely solo, "Prelude in F," also fall into this category.

The third dimension on Crossing Lines is George Garzone. Any leader who brings the great saxophonist blazing through Coltrane's "Like Sonny" merits unflagging gratitude. Garzone, a master teacher as well as an underappreciated musician, has a pleasing habit of showing up on his former students' records, with great results, another fine example being saxophonist Alex Terrier's recent Stop Requested (Aphrodite, 2007). Karadonev's unpretentious but flawless comping behind Garzone's solo on "Sianic" provides a fine example of his sympathetic approach.

Karadonev commits the typical sin of the talented rookie, which is to take his début record in too many directions. Better, though, to have too many things to say than too few.

Track Listing: Crossing Lines; Night and Day; Rondo à la Bulgare; Like Sonny; Sianic; Frohleher Landman; Prelude in F; You Must Believe in Spring; The Island.

Personnel: Plamen Karadonev: piano, keyboards, accordion; George Garzone: tenor saxophone (4, 5, 6); Hal Crook: trombone, trom-o-tizer (1, 6); Elena Koleva: vocals (5, 8, 9); Kendall Eddy: bass; Austin McMahon: drums; Lee Fish: drums (1, 6).

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Mu Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Currents 0" CD/LP/Track Review Currents 0
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Makes My Heart Sway" CD/LP/Track Review Makes My Heart Sway
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Source" CD/LP/Track Review Source
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 25, 2016
Read "Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Duo
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 7, 2016
Read "Dancing Our Way To Death" CD/LP/Track Review Dancing Our Way To Death
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Shapes" CD/LP/Track Review Shapes
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!