It begins with a swell of strings that could almost serve as a prelude to something classical. Before the first minute is over, the piano swoops in for a brief but dizzying solo as the intro builds to a plateau. In the next minute we're launched into a tumble down a very steep slopethe piece's composer Evgeny Lebedev careens up and down the keys at lightning speed while his cohorts zip alongside like water-skiers bouncing over the surface of a lake. The opening track is a breathtaking rollercoaster of twists and turns, making it already clear that this trio's roots in jazz are wide enough to encompass anything they wish from all over the music world.
There are a couple more such sizzlers over the course of this eponymous trio's second release, but that's not the reason it's such a fresh and exciting romp. The crystalline "Drops" shows that they're just as willing to go beautifully minimalist. On drummer Ignat Kravtsov 's piece "Luminescence," the piano often circles in restless patterns while the rhythm percolates on top in a manner evocative of brisk techno more than anything else. Anton Revnyuk's double-bass also takes a spot as lead voice in the process, and the contributions from his pen show a similar knack for seemingly effortless complexity. The smooth-flowing yet drunken-sounding staggers of his title track and Lebedev's accordion- tinged "Plyasovaya" practically defy anyone to try bouncing along.
Those drums are spiced up with programmed samples now and then, while Revnyuk is comfortable playing with upright acoustic bass or warm electric. The opening string quartet pops up again for a treatment of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Zingaro" that's both lighthearted and slyly romantic. The Brazilian mood and Olivier Ker Ourio's plaintive harmonica don't even sound out of place amid the wild ambition of trio's own compositionsthere's room in this woodshed for all those things as well as quaint folk, crazy postmodern improv and the refined influence of fellow Russians like Tchaikovsky.
Irresistibly propulsive and fresh enough to be practically futuristic, it's an addicting mix held together by gleeful abandon and defiance of the ordinary. Fans of jazz's modern cutting-edge names such as Hiromi or GoGo Penguin, and those who still dearly miss the late Esbjorn Svensson, should dive in with relish. Each of the LRK Trio's dreams seems more vivid than the last, and it's simply a delight to hear them brought to life.
Nebylitsa; If You Have a Dream; Forgotten Song; Drops; Luminesence; Zingaro;
Plyasovaya; The Thinker.
Evgeny Lebedev: piano, keyboards, accordion; Anton Revnyuk: double bass, electric
bass; Ignat Kravtsov: drums, Roland SPD-SX sampling pad; Olivier Ker Ourio:
harmonica (6, 8); Oleg Grymov: flute, clarinet, bass clarinet (8); Vladimir Slabchuk:
french horn (8); Asiya Abdrakhmanova: violin (1, 6); Svetlana Ramazanova: violin (1,
6); Antonina Popras: viola (1, 6); Alexandra Petrova: cello (1, 6).
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