4

Rale Micic: Night Music

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Rale Micic: Night Music On Night Music, his fourth album as leader of his own group, Rale Micic (pronounced Rah-lay Mee-cheech), a Serbian-born guitarist who has lived and gigged in New York City for more than fifteen years, pays tribute to the music of the Hungarian classical composer Bela Bartok who, as it turns out, spent his last years living in the same Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, in upper Manhattan, where Micic has made his home for the past dozen years. Having learned of Bartok from his classical music-loving grandfather and studied the composer's string quartets in college, the coincidental fact that Bartok had once lived about two blocks from Micic's home in Riverdale was the tipping point that provided the impetus for this earnest homage.

Micic wrote eight of the album's eleven selections, Bartok the others ("Melody in a Mist" and acoustic and electric versions of his "Nocturne"). Its classical veneer, implicit and understated, lends an aura of sublimity to what is essentially a tasteful jazz recording by Micic and his dexterous teammates (pianist Danny Grissett, bassist Corcoran Holt, drummer Johnathan Blake) whose over-arching theme is night in all its essence as filtered through the senses of Micic and Bartok and paraphrased by the quartet. While Micic plays a key role, he shares much of the melodic and improvisational component with Grissett who is more than up to the task. The rhythm is in capable hands as well, with Holt and Blake taking firm command on the serpentine opener, "Hotel Insomnia," laying down a strong and insistent beat that counterbalances Micic's mellow guitar and Grissett's even-tempered Fender Rhodes.

"Jano," Micic's restatement of a traditional Serbian folk song, underscores the more temperate nature of the night, as does Bartok's "Melody in a Mist," which set the stage for the more vigorous, bop-centered "Late Call" and the enchanting ballad "Blue." Micic and Grissett are alone together on the brief "Nocturnes," the first acoustic, the second electric (a tantalizing contrast), which bookend the fast-paced title selection. "Afterparty," another easygoing essay, showcases Grissett's wah-wah pedal on the Fender Rhodes along with more stalwart rhythmic support from Holt and Blake, and the quartet wraps the session with the charming "Sunrise" and seductive waltz-time treatment of Micic's "Color of the Sun."

At its core, this is stylish, well-designed chamber jazz with an emphasis on sharp and perceptive interplay. The melodies are engaging, the rhythms well-matched, the solos sharp and burnished. The presumption here is that Bartok would have been delighted, and so might you.

Track Listing: Hotel Insomnia; Jano; Melody in a Mist; Late Call; Blue; Nocturne; Night Music; Nocturne (reprise); Afterparty; Sunrise; Color of the Sun.

Personnel: Rale Micic: guitar; Danny Grissett: piano; Corcoran Holt: bass; Jonathan Blake: drums.

Title: Night Music | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Whaling City Sound


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Speechless" CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Bright Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Moments
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Blue Skylight" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Skylight
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Spectre" CD/LP/Track Review Spectre
by Mark F. Turner
Published: July 24, 2016
Read "The Wild" CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.