Recorded live, composer Dzijan Emin's Magical Orchestra uses a different kind of impulse, spectrum of colors and kind of propulsion from all his previous projects. By now, his audience should be used to his shape-shifting ways. Emin, who has a unique and diverse musical approach and boasts an extensive résumé, has been navigating from one shape-shifting project to another and has been pushing boundaries from one project to another. He has been conducting at the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra, writing arrangements for various soundtracks and orchestral works with the F.A.M.E.S Orchestra, and has been writing jazz arrangements and composing new works with the Big Band; many members of these orchestras and soloists have taken part in this beautiful recording.
Live in Ohrid is the Magical Orchestra's debut performance at the ancient Roman theatre in the city of Ohrid, in 2019, just two months before its ecstatic and memorable concert at that year's edition of the Skopje Jazz Festival. The five pieces that were selected from a lengthier setlist are a showcase for playing that is passionate without becoming overblown, and relaxed without ever falling into dullness. Emin himself barely plays (a little synth), serving instead as conductor and director.
From the introductory "Hope" to the closing "Domenico," the Magical Orchestra combines the ability to navigate complex arrangements with the kind of improvisational chemistry not often found in larger ensembles. The compositions ebb and flow, and the brilliance of the Magical Orchestra lifts the spirits and expectations. All the secret ingredients that make for a rare, great recording can be found here, the high level of musicianship, a sense of unity, and kinetic interplay. There are patterns that layer upon other patterns thus creating a mesh of melodies, harmonies, and rhythms. One can listen to this record, song by song, focusing on every nuance, rhythm or melody or just let the album flow. The compositions, the excellent solos and the smart arrangements really make time fly. The music is loose, bright and lively, and the compositions are often lengthy, especially the 17-minute closer "Domenico."
Live in Ohrid is a musical kaleidoscope. It balances structure and freedom which might seem a bit far out at moments, but at the heart of all these compositions, there is a sense of musicality, soul and joy.
Hope; For My Dju; 1/4 Oka; Marsh Na Vonka; Domenico
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