Ukrainian pianist Vadim Neselovskyi has an affecting, organic sound that draws more from classical and folk idioms than the usual jazz materials. It can range from fragile to overpowering and on this CD, it allows him to establish a strong, individual presence in the crowded piano trio field.
On fast pieces like "On A Bicycle" and "Who Is It?" Neselovskyi's playing is busy and relentless and stays in close rapport with bassist Daniel Loomis and drummer Ronen Itzik who keep perfect pace with him. On slower works like "Winter" and "Station Taiga," the trio's playing is delicate and ethereal with a hint of sadness. Folk themes from various places are a constant presence in the music. "San Felio" has the jangling drama of Aaron Copland's compositions about the West while "Krai," which comes out of an Orthodox prayer, is both sorrowing and agitated without tipping over into real despair.
"Prelude For Vibes" gently dances while the title track quietly traces its theme before gathering steam with hard, charging keyboard runs and crashing drums. It's in passages like this that Neselovskyi shows off his dazzling command of the piano with the gravitational pull of Loomis' and Itzik's work always keeping the rhythmic force of jazz present.
Other elements besides the three basic instruments also appear in the mix. Neselovskyi's overdubs melodica in a few spots, adding a more plaintive emotional texture, and Sara Serpa brings a real element of humanity in with her airy, wordless vocals on the dreamy "Station Taiga" and the bell-like chiming of "Almost December."
Vadim Neselovskyi's music sounds both familiar and haunting. His tunes are simply constructed but have a melancholy beauty that lingers in your head long after the CD has stopped playing. This disc is impressive and hopefully he'll continue to make gorgeous statements like this in the future.
On A Bicycle; Winter; San Felio; Station Taiga; Who Is It?; Krai; Interlude I; Prelude For Vibes; Get Up And Go; Interlude II; Almost December.
Vadim Neselovskyi: piano, melodica; Ronen Itzik: drums, percussion; Dan Loomis: bass; Sara Serpa: voice (4, 11).
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