Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved reader experience across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.


Hristo Vitchev: Of Light and Shadows

Phillip Woolever By

Sign in to view read count
Vitchev's latest effort is another jewel in his growing catalogue of widespread genres. Given Vitchev's warmly ambitious range of projects, he may soon be able to center his own multi-themed festival.

This presents his current, contemporary style quartet in an impressive showcase. The SF bay area group's core has played together in various ensembles for years, and their cohesive evolution is demonstrated throughout. Vitchev gives his band mates plenty of room to groove from the opening track on, they respond with crisp cascading chords.

When Vitchev does step out his quick, clean leads hold up respectably while drawing inevitable comparisons with heavy hitters like John Scofield or Pat Metheny. The title track would fit in well amidst Metheny's American Garage. Nothing new under the sun? Maybe not, but there is plenty of positive light and energy here.

In line with Vitchev's discography, much of the album is piano driven, "Selective Absorption" a case in point alongside "The Shortest Wavelength," on which longtime collaborating bassist Dan Robbins' nicely stretched solo strings glide precisely over Mike Shannon's ample sticks.

Vitchev remains relatively subdued for nearly half that 12-minute exercise, with relative newcomer (2 years), Brazilian pianist Jasnam Daya Singh and Robbins blasting off again until Vitchev returns with swiftly spiraling echoes of multi-fingered mastery as the band comes back to a singular, closing stretch of keys.

On "Pentachromatic Butterflies" heavy bass paves the way for a deep journey illuminated by staccato bursts that will probably become a live treat.

"A Portrait of a Love Forgotten" and the gentle "At your Side" further highlight exceptional chemistry between Vitchev and Daya Singh that brings out the best in both. Some very smooth ballads done just right, with the rhythm section tight, on creative patterns.

Whether or not it's actually the strongest track, funky flurries on "Partial Darkness," including some nice closing riffs, end the album with a bang.

Vitchev wrote all the songs, and it figures there were valuable contributions from the rest of the group. Production and sound quality were excellent when experienced on two different systems.

Another plus is the length of the album, at a value-packed total length around 74:37. None of that time is wasted and much of it, like a real jewel, is to treasure.

Turn it up. There could be a new guitar hero in jazz town.

Track Listing: Of Light and Shadows; The Shortest Wavelength; Selective Absorption, At Your Side; Prelude to Prismic Dance; Prismic Dance; Pentachromatic Butterflies; A Portrait of a Love Forgotten; Partial Darkness

Personnel: Hristo Vitchev, guitar: Jasnam Daya Singh, piano; Dan Robbins, bass; Mike Shannon, drums.

Title: Of Light and Shadows | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: First Orbit Sounds


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Contra la indecision CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Vessel in Orbit CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Pulse/Quartet CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Unloved" CD/LP/Track Review Unloved
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "The Seasons" CD/LP/Track Review The Seasons
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Constant Change 1976-2016" CD/LP/Track Review Constant Change 1976-2016
by John Sharpe
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Roberto Magris Sextet Live In Miami @ The WDNA Jazz Gallery" CD/LP/Track Review Roberto Magris Sextet Live In Miami @ The WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 2, 2017
Read "Soliloquy" CD/LP/Track Review Soliloquy
by Don Phipps
Published: November 28, 2017
Read "The Traveller's Tale" CD/LP/Track Review The Traveller's Tale
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 17, 2017