A title like Infinite Itinerant may seem like a premature (or even pretentious) statement coming from a player in his late teens, but Domas Žeromskas' sparkling debut shows that he's got enough ambition to back it up. The young leader's piano work smartly builds on past decades of swing and bop alongside contemporary hipness, and the all-original pieces follow suit. If this happy session is any indication, Žeromskas seems poised to live up to that exploratory promise. This is a session that sounds like it could have come from just about any decade from the '70s onwards while remaining insistently fresh and modern.
Žeromskas and crew certainly know how to build an appealing hook or vamp, as in hard-grooving highlights like "Backbone" or the opening "Rail Rush." They also pay tonal homage to a classic touchstone or two along the way: "Mad Voyage" hints at its iconic Herbie Hancock namesake and is also reminiscent of very early Jaco Pastorius. On top of those moments, we have picturesque grooves evocative of Esbjorn Svensson or snazzy funk with hints of Orrin Evans. The pianist can spin a wild careening lead with the flashiest of young virtuosos, but shows that he's willing to supportively comp behind the sharp horn and guitar soloists as often as he actually steps in front himself.
Things are even spiced up with a smooth guest vocal towards the home stretch; "Perfumes and Sounds" can't help feeling just slightly out of place with its vaguely lounge-y verses, but crisp bass and piano solos keep the piece from going too light. If there's one most essential highlight here, it's the hard-bopping "Positive"an exuberant defining statement of just what the affair's all about. When the last track fades out, it only suggests how much more exploration is still to come.
Rail Rush; Lift; Blue Road; Mad Voyage; Torpidity; Backbone;
White Light; Positive; Perfumes And Sounds;
Domas Žeromskas - Piano, Fender Rhodes
Jonas Drema - Drums
Vytautas Labutis - Saxophones (all tracks, except 7•10), Bass Clarinet (4•5)
Mindaugas Vadoklis - Trumpet (all tracks, except 4•7•10)
Aurelijus Užameckis - Upright Bass (3•6•10)
Eugenijus Kanevičius - Upright Bass (2•5)
Braxton Cook - Alto Saxophone (7)
Orphée Noah - Vocals (9)
Will Mallard - Trumpet (10)
Liutauras Janušaitis - Flute (4)
Žygimantas Bačkus - Guitar (9)
Tomas Dičiūnas - Organ (2)
Paulius Vaicekauskas - Electric Bass (7•9)
Nojus Drąsutis - Electric Bass (4•8)
Arman Isojan - Upright Bass (1•8)
Tarmo Hiis - Cello (5)