Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Jordan Shapiro extends the reach of Balkan music with a gentrified twist, hinting at a New York City downtown aura amid the indigenous fundamentals that coalesce into a variegated offering. With straight-four backbeats, streaming violins, harmonious vocal chants and dreamy electronics maneuvers, the album presents a nouveau spin on traditional southeastern European folk.
"Beratche from Prespa" is an Albanian dance, treated with Shapiro's psychedelic guitar parts, concocted on grunge-rock and gravelly keyboards-based intonations. With linear progressions, the piece strikes a balance between reckless abandon, playful havoc, and a rather holistic stance, thrusting Balkan music into unshielded terrain.
Shapiro seldom forsakes the Balkan vibe, but embeds the core attributes within a layered approach, offering a sliding scale of sorts, between customary fare and post-modern expansionism. The band's divergent tactics waver between progressive rock, psycho-rock, jazzy inflections and other genre-crossing factors that fluctuate on a per-track basis. A compelling artistic statement, modeled with a clear-sighted vision that sustains interest via a highly entertaining form factor.
Personnel: Jordan Shapiro: Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, electric guitar, accordion, piano, Ensoniq TS-12 synthesizer; Dave Johnsen: electric bass; Phil Kessler: drums, kanjira, marimba, riq, pandeiro, tuned bronze alloys.
I love jazz because it expresses things so deep that I can't transform in words.
I met John Pizzarelli.
The best show I ever attended was MASP in São Paulo Brazil.
The first jazz record I bought was a Baby Dodds CD.
My heroes on drums: Papa Jo Jones, Sid Catlett, Gene Krupa, Baby Dodds, Zutty Singleton, Ray Bauduc, Vernell Fournier,
Shelly Manne, Jimmy Cobb, Joe Morello, Daniel Humair, Kenny Clarke, Sonny Carr, Buddy Rich, Sam Woodyard, Cozy Cole,
Sonny Greer, Neil Peart, Carl Palmer, Tony Sbarbaro, Vic Berton, Edison Machado, Milton Banana, Rubens Barsotti.
My heroes in jazz: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal, Coleman Hawkins, Teddy Wilson,
Barney Kessel, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, Jelly Roll Morton.