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The debut recording from pianist/composer Ivar Kangur, Make A Play, is a collection of original tunes characterized by a gentleness and lightness of spirit that makes them immediately accessible and attractive. Kangur, based in Ontario, Canada, is a veteran of cover and new wave bands, and has composed scores for a number of short films. These experiences are not too much to the fore here; he acknowledges, however, the influence of Keith Jarrett and Vince Guaraldi, and the latter's style is definitely to be heard.
At just over 30 minutes in length, Make A Play is perhaps best described as a mini-albumthe tunes are also brief, none breaking the four-minute barrier. Such relative brevity means that his melodies are of central importancethere's no room for lengthy improvisations. Luckily, Kangur has a good line in melodies and the best of them grab the attention within a few bars.
The most effective numbers on Make A Play are the upbeat, more playful ones such as "My Favorite Season," the pretty and insistent "Perpetual Motion Machine" and "Cabello Oscuro," or the bluesy "Blue Horizon." The 64 seconds-long "In The Quarter" is a more angular and jagged piece, suggesting that Kangur may have a more experimental side that's worth exploring. The most obviously Guaraldi-like tune is "Carnival," a simple but beautiful melody that conjures up images of crisp, fresh winter days.
Kangur overdubs bass or drums on a few tunes. This helps to give the music a bit more substance, but the parts are fairly rudimentarythe addition of a talented pair of rhythm players would have enabled him to explore and expand on these tunes. As a solo project, Make A Play is a promising debut, full of engaging and intriguing melodies. Given the chance to work with other musicians, Kangur's future recordings could really make the most of his potential.
Track Listing: Through the Tide; Perpetual Motion Machine; Easy Days; Anthem; Six Fourteen; Cabello Oscuro; My Favorite Season; Blue Horizon; Awakening; Carnival; In The Quarter.
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.