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Errol Rackipov Group: Pictures From A Train Window

Chris Mosey By

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There's a lot going on here: all manner of different musical influences and moods. Errol Rackipov (vibes and marimba), hails originally from Bulgaria. In his sleeve note, he likens life to a train ride on which we glimpse reflections of our past, present and future out of the window.

The wistful, yet driving title song—probably Rackipov's best know composition to date—refers to this musically, a complex, Bulgarian emigré version of Jimmy Giuffre's classic "Train And The River."

Rackipov says, "The moods, feelings and emotions captured in this album started their journey a long time ago." He hopes the listener will enjoy the ride.

Rackipov studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston under—among others—Gary Burton. He is principal percussionist with the Miami Symphony Orchestra.

His group includes fellow Bulgarian ex-pats Hristo Vitchev (guitar) and Lubomir Gospodinov (reeds). All but one of the nine songs are Rackipov originals.

"Mad Djore" is reminiscent of some of the things McCoy Tyner did post-John Coltrane. Based on a percussive theme, with pianist Martin Bejerano to the fore, its moods change from busy to relaxed and back again.

"Far Away From Here, A Long Time Ago," is a meditation on childhood in Bulgaria; wistful and melancholic, featuring melodic piano.

"Jumble" has an Arabian feel. It starts with a kind of cacophonous fanfare, almost stops then gets going again with Bejerano in command until Rackipov takes over on vibes. He's followed by Gospodinov before the band bows out with another cacophonous fanfare.

There's that McCoy Tyner feel to the intro of "Dill Man." Things drift, albeit interestingly, before getting knitted together in the finale.

"Folk Dance" and "Wild River" are both great fun, mixing echoes of Bulgaria with Rackipov's take on America's wide open spaces. Bejerano gets quite low down and funky on occasion.

The journey ends with the lovely, Latin-tinged "Once A Mother Had A Child," featuring Gospodinov on clarinet, underpinned by the leader's vibes. Remember the name Dimitar Ianev. If there's any justice, he's written a song destined to become a standard.

Track Listing: Mad Djore; Far Away from Here, A Long Time Ago; Jumble; Dill Man; Folk Dance; Pictures from a Train Window; The Other (Wrong) Way; Once a Mother Had a Child.

Personnel: Errol Rackipov: vibraphone, marimba, tupan; Hristo Vitchev: guitar; Lubomir Gospodinov: saxophones, clarinet; Martin Bejerano: piano; Josh Allen: bass; Rodolpho Zuniga: drums.

Title: Pictures from a Train Window | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: First Orbit Sounds

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