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In case the good word hasn't gotten out, Croatia boasts a nascent jazz scene. Keyboardist Kristian Terzic dispatches a prime example of that notion, performing with fellow countrymen on this sparkling rendezvous that skirts jazz-fusion and the Latin element. Other than his impressive technical faculties, Terzic shines as an impressive composer. Regardless of tempo or when the band works on overdrive, the agenda is etched by surging themes, shaded with memorable harmonic content and rousing unison choruses. And there are movements where the ensemble flirts with little big band type bop. Here, multiplicity plays an important role.
It's an egalitarian program, often accelerated by Terzic's fluid performances atop bustling pulses and spiraling horns. "Five Stars" contrasts the burning and knotty fusion-oriented opener "Tribal Thing," as the leader's soothing keys align with trumpeter Branko Sterpin's warm lines, denoting a radio-friendly contemporary vibe atop a swaying rock beat. But the Latin component reappears on the buoyant "Perception," engineered by the frontline's succinctly complex motifs; a memorable hook and charging rhythms, propelled by Sterpin's linear soloing. Consequently, Terzic's flailing chord clusters and hyper-jazz lines help steer this piece into free-flight, effectively countering the odd-metered melody.
"Up & Down" seemingly derives inferences from the Yellowjackets songbook, as a pulsating and affable 4/4 impetus alternates with a briskly executed Afro-Cuban vamp. Moreover, Terzic spots a few bars of blues into his jazzy metrics, heightened by Sterpin's flotation-like phrasings. As the band launches a swift attack, capped off by electric guitarist Alen Spada's scorching solo towards the finale.
Solid compositions and powerful arrangements enhance the band's bottom line. Essentially, Terzic casts a mark of distinction since many other efforts of this ilk either favor commercial potential or the respective musicians' technical prowess. The keyboardist successfully fuses both of those factors into a set that has significant replay value.
Track Listing: Tribal Thing; Five Stars; Pinball Blues; River…; Perception; Up & Down; Six of Eight; Tribal Thing *Live (Bonus Track).
Personnel: Kristian Terzic: piano and keyboards; Marko Matosevic: drums; Luka Veselinovic: upright bass, electric bass, fretless bass and vocals; Branko Sterpin: trumpet and flugelhorn; Boris Popov: percussions; Alen Spada: guitars; Vojkan Jocic: soprano saxophone and tenor saxophones; Luka Zuzic: trombone; Marko Ramljak: violin and vocals.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.