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Domas Žeromskas: Meditations on Providence and Perseverance, Vol. 1

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Domas Žeromskas: Meditations on Providence and Perseverance, Vol. 1
Domas Žeromskas is a Lithuanian pianist and composer living in Boston. For his debut album, Infinite Itinerant (Vinilo Studija, 2019), he collaborated with numerous musicians from his home country. Subsequently, he worked with musicians such as Tom Scott and Jacques Schwarz-Bart before forming his trio with drummer Héctor L. Falu Guzmán and bassist Ian Quinton Banno. This trio forms the musical backbone of Meditations on Providence and Perseverance Vol. 1.

Žeromskas takes the chemistry of his trio and broadens his soundscape by bringing in twelve guests; they feature in a variety of combinations on the seven tracks. There are three tracks as a quintet, two as a sextet and two as a septet.

The opening to "Of Water and Spirit" is crafted by a softly flowing piano, a light bass, and agile drums. Percussionist Juan Sebastian Ramirez joins Quinton Banno to drive the rhythms to greater intensity. Žeromskas' fluid piano improvisation leads onto a steel drum solo from Luke Walker. Brian Urra adds violin and Jin Lee adds alto sax as this adventurous blend of instruments finds new paths into the melody, creating a satisfying opening track. In "Stand," the same septet line-up is back, with Lin switching to soprano sax. The steel drums make an impact as the rhythms develop, with Quinton Banno leading a section which transitions into a bluesy piano solo.

The gentle "Courage That Won't Break" opens with flugelhorn from Nadje Noordhuis. Tenor sax from Gregory Groover Jr. joins as the two exchange marvellous solos. The same line-up features on "As I Have Loved," with Noordhuis moving to trumpet. After a catchy start, the piano trio has a section where they play unaccompanied. They are joined in their improvisation by Groover Jr. and Noordhuis before Falu Guzmán has time for a drum solo before steering this fine track to a bluesy close.

"Kregždutės" is one of the album highlights. It is taken from the musical Fire Hunt with Beaters by Lithuanian composer Giedrius Kuprevičius. Žeromskas employs the skills of trumpeter Diego Hedez in a bright arrangement which augments the rhythmic and melodic patterns, with soprano saxophonist Karolis Šarkus joining Žeromskas in producing a sparkling solo.

Two tracks feature the vocal talents of Jádon Brooks. In the first, he sings the words to Psalm 139, supported by the twin alto saxophones of Lee and Julian Brooks. The second takes a hymn written by Catharina von Schlegel. The hymn tune comes from Jean Sibelius' symphonic poem Finlandia. In this arrangement, Brooks is joined on vocals by Alexandria DeWalt. A fine clarinet solo from Gregory Tardy also heightens the enjoyment. While both of these tracks offer superior arrangements, they sit a little uncomfortably with the rest of the material.

Žeromskas demonstrates generosity as a leader and is prepared to take on a supporting role. He gives his collaborators room to express themselves in his arrangements. As a result, modern jazz is combined with influences from the Caribbean and Lithuania to create a wide soundscape. His playing is inventive and fluid, with an added touch of excitement. The album is very strong compositionally and is elevated by instrumental colours, textures and pacing.

Track Listing

Of Water and Spirit; Courage That Won't Break; Stand; Psalm 139; Kregždutės; as I have loved; Be Still My Soul.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Gregory Groover Jr.: tenor saxophone (2, 6); Nadje Noordhuis: flugelhorn (2), trumpet (6); Jádon Brooks: voice (4, 7); Luke Walker: steel drums (1, 3): Gregory Tardy: clarinet (7): Alexandria DeWalt: voice (7): Karolis Šarkus: soprano saxophone (5): Diego Hedez: trumpet (5): Jin Lee: alto saxophone (1, 4), soprano saxophone (3): Brian Urra: violin (1, 3): Juan Sebastian Ramirez: percussion (1, 3): Julian Brooks: alto saxophone (4).

Album information

Title: Meditations on Providence and Perseverance, Vol. 1 | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Domas Žeromskas


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