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Album Review

Emil and the Detectives: Remote Proximity


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Emil and the Detectives: Remote Proximity
When one thinks of countries with strong jazz connections, the chances are that Slovenia isn't the first place that comes to mind. So, it could be surprising to learn that Slovenia has a jazz history going back to the 1920s and is home to one of the oldest continuously running jazz festivals in Europe. This year the festival will attract such prominent musicians as Lakecia Benjamin, John Zorn and Jeff Parker. Slovenia produces its own musical talent too. Emil And The Detectives have been recording their own music since 2016 and Remote Proximity is their third album. This album had a fairly long gestation following the difficulties of getting together during the pandemic.

All the band members have a wealth of playing experience across various genres and bring in a diverse mix of influences including Latin, jazz-fusion and Indian classical. The sextet feature keyboards, bass, guitar, trumpet, drums and sax. Of the seven tracks, four are composed by bassist Rastko Zager with the remaining three being joint compositions by Zager and electronic keyboard player Dejan Pecenko.

The album opener is "Tranquility." The bass leads a relaxed rhythm that meanders tunefully and allows all the soloists space with Boris Majcen delivering a fine trumpet break. "Back From Planet Serpo" is more soul based and is one of the album highlights. It's a strong composition with a good hook. Pecenko's keyboards are prominent alongside Zdravko Zimic's sax solo. The melodic and gently swinging "Devided By Zero" has some interesting solos, notably Pecenko on the Hammond M3 and fine guitar work from Igor Bezget.

"Fuego Ondulado" takes the album into jazz funk territory. The band often mix hard bop style horn arrangements with jazz funk rhythms, which can make for an intriguing contrast. "Dark Matter" has a jazz fusion vibe and "Ouroboros" is a little slower with a soulful feel and prominent trumpet from Majcen. Both tracks are anchored by punchy drumming from Joze Zadravec and fluid bass playing from Zager providing the platform for a series of solos. Pecenko and Zager provide a melodic lead into "River With 2 Springs." The track picks up speed with Bezget's guitar cutting loose and trading improvisations with Zimic's sax.

Occasionally wandering off the beaten path can be beneficial and that proves to be the case here. This band are well worth getting acquainted with and they offer a pleasing range of mood and texture with an unhurried openness for solos to unfold. All told, it's a commendable album that highlights what Slovenian jazz has to offer.

Track Listing

Tranquility; Back From Planet Serpo; Devided By Zero; Fuego Ondulado; Dark Matter; Ouroboros; River With 2 Springs.


Emil And The Detectives: band / orchestra; Rastko Zager: bass; Dejan Pecenko: keyboards; Igor Bezget: guitar; Boris Majcen: trumpet; Zdravko Zimic: saxophone; Joze Zadravec: drums.

Album information

Title: Remote Proximity | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Videre

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