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Hristo Vitchev Quartet: In Search of Wonders

Edward Blanco By

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Marking his seventh project as a leader, internationally-renowned impressionistic guitarist Hristo Vitchev presents In Search of Wonders, his first double album of original world-tinged modern jazz delivered in the same creatively unique style this guitarist, is known for. One thing remains the same, the music is intellectual, soul-searching, harmonically-rich and thoroughly enchanting. With a double album containing a total of fifteen new pieces, Vitchev offers plenty more of wonders to sample than he has in the past.

Performing with a quartet that has evolved over the years, one constant figure of the Hristo Vitchev Quartet remains Brazilian pianist extraordinaire Weber Iago lending his classical jazz prowess from beginning to end starting on "It May Backfire," "Almost Home," "Stay (Prelude)" and many other tracks. Rounding out the group are first-call musicians from the Bay Area, bassist Dan Robbins and drummer Mike Shannon both of whom share solid solo moments throughout. Prior to recording the album, Vitchev and group performed the very same music on tour all around the world refining each piece before settling on the final versions that appear here.

The lengthy sprawling "It May Backfire" helps define the project that encompass superb solos from every member of the band. The soft "Post Nubes" and "Fuchsia Brown Eyes," highlight the guitarist's penchant for the lighter side of modern jazz with two beautiful melodic ballads, while the title track reveals a more sophisticated texture boarding on the classical. All is not mellow though, as Vitchev and bandmates change their approach adopting a bit more of an aggressive bent on the stylish "Almost Home."

Vichev's talents on the instrument are of course, evident throughout the set but none as tantalizing as his performance on "Old Theme" where additional bass line solos from Robbins and a terrific touch on the keys from Iago, makes this piece, one of the highlights of the recording. In terms of highlights, this album is full of them resulting in another remarkable album from guitarist Hristo Vitchev who, In Search of Wonders, manages to craft many musical wonders to be found within the special and splendid repertoire presented here.

Track Listing: Disc 1: The Transitory Nature; It May Backfire; Post Nubes; Fuchsia Brown Eyes; In Search of Wonders; Almost Home (Intro); Almost Home. Disc 2: Falling in Orange; Old Theme; It Is Here, Somewhere; Stay (Prelude); Stay; Without Words, As the Full Moon Shines; The Invisible Stairway; We Search for Wonders.

Personnel: Hristo Vitchev: guitar; Dan Robbins: bass; Jasnam Dava Singh (Weber Iago): piano; Mike Shannon: drums.

Title: In Search of Wonders | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: First Orbit Sounds

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