The recently formed AVA Trio has a distinctly original sound that blends the musical influences of the Mediterranean, Middle-East and Western jazz on their debut recording Music From An Imaginary Land. The three young musicians play original compositions that owe more to jazz than to global influences but they incorporate their native heritages, along with somewhat unusual instrumentation, to form some unique ideas.
Bassist Esat Ekincioglu is Turkish and though still in his twenties, has worked in pop, rock, and theatrical musicals and has played with Adam Nussbaum, Alex Spiagin, John Clayton and a number of other well-known jazz artists. Iran's Pouriya Jaberi is a percussionist who plays the dafa frame drum that is comparable to an oversized tambourineand two other instruments, the kozeh and jivar which are not well documented. Amsterdam-based baritone saxophonist Giuseppe Doronzo is an Italian native and has a background that includes modern classical, jazz improvisation and non-western music. He has performed with saxophonists Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, trombonist Robin Eubanks and trumpeters Paolo Fresu, Taylor Ho Bynum and Ralph Alessi.
Much of the sound, derived from the baritone and bass is, not surprisingly, on the lower end though Doronzo utilizes the full range of the saxophone. In contrast, Jaberi's daf has a sharp, high rap to it and it provides nice contrast to the deeper dynamics. The album opens with the slow building "Kancık Dance"; low volume percussion and bass being blasted away by Doronzo's free wailing baritone. "Allèst Allèst" and "Pisman" are considerably quieter, both with a darker ambience. "Borders" is the first piece where Middle-Eastern themes pop and "Barrio" is a wide-open improvisation with excellent performances from each member of the trio.
The album closes with "Mediterranean People," a piece that brings all the sights and sounds of this expedition together and makes it clear that AVA Trio is doing something musically, that no one else is up to. The Netherlands based group has done a masterful job of blending regional influences as well as balancing ethnic inspirations with free improvisation, thus genuinely creating Music From An Imaginary Land as both a concept and a musical experience.
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