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Frantisek Uhlir Trio: Jazz at Prague Castle 2006

Jim Santella By

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As a major center of the Czech Republic's cultural and social life, Prague Castle has played host to a series of jazz concerts that began in 2004. Based in Prague, this trio was recorded at one of those concerts on February 22, 2006, interpreting original pieces influenced by straight-ahead jazz as well as pieces by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Sammy Fain, Dizzy Gillespie, and Buddy Kaye.

Bassist Frantisek Uhlir, from Prague, brings a lyrical quality to the session; walking when appropriate and dishing up melody at other times. He provides a strong rhythmic foundation that allows the trio to swing and sway with authority. A strong leader who creates energy throughout the session, he delivers a concert worthy of its honored setting. As we can hear by the enthusiastic applause, the audience agreed. This is one time when nobody cares to talk during the bass solo.

Guitarist Darko Jurkovič, from Croatia, fits the program like a glove. He's just right for the straight-ahead selections at hand, as he tosses out notes in rapid-fire motion by using both hands to articulate. Lightly tapping the strings with both hands, he creates lovely melodies that wash over the stage. In the same manner that Wes Montgomery gave us an intimate, soft-edged sound from his thumb; Jurkovič carves each tune delicately with two thumbs and eight fingers.

Drummer Jaromir Helešic, who's also from Prague, supports the trio with plenty of fire and takes off frequently with a wild solo approach that includes machine-gun tirades. He enjoys propelling the unit through swing and bossa nova, while having fun with embellished coloring textures.

Trumpeter Dusko Goykovich, who guests on the program's final four numbers, adds a sultry tone and an ethereal quality to the program.

The opening up of Eastern Europe has resulted in many pleasant changes that have altered the world significantly in our lifetime. The appearance of the Frantisek Uhlir Trio at Prague Castle is a significant part of the new way, and comes highly recommended.


Track Listing: Fly Time; June in Prague; Banana Split; From Heart to Hearts; Secret Love; How Insensitive; Ow!; I'll Close My Eyes.

Personnel: Frantisek Uhlir: double bass; Darko Jurkovič: guitar; Jaromir Helešic: drums; Dusko Goykovich: trumpet (6-9).

Title: Jazz at Prague Castle 2006 | Year Released: 2007

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