3

Hristo Vitchev and Liubomir Krastev: Rhodopa

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Hristo Vitchev and Liubomir Krastev: Rhodopa Bulganin modern jazz guitarist Hristo Vitchev resides in the Bay Area and alternates between a variety of jazz formations. On Rhodopa, which is a mountainous region in Bulgaria (named after the character from the Greek mythology known also as Hera, sister of Zeus) he teams with clarinetist Liubomir Krastev who shares with him Bulgarian roots on a program of traditional Bulgarian melodies.

Vitchev arrangements focus on the lyrical and emotional side of this folklore melody. He, on the acoustic guitar and piano, and Krastev are gifted with warm and gentle sounds and articulate nuanced playing. Both musicians opt for a meditative and slow ambiance, as on the touching, impressionistic "Lale Li Si Zyumbiul Li Si (Are You a Tulip, Are You a Hyacinth)." The interaction is peaceful and reserved, and usually Krastevs' playing colors these melodies with Balkan and East European overtones.

On most of the melodies there is no attempt to blend the asymmetric rhythms of the Balkan into modern jazz harmonies in a more upbeat manner as other musicians did successfully—clarinet players Matt Darriau (with his Paradox Trio or Chris Speed (with his quartet Pachora), both with guitarist Brad Shepik. All of the pieces, including the original "Silent Prayer" by Vitchev, explore the emotional core with minimal variations. Only Vitchev original "Blues for Clever Peter," the brief "Improvisation #2" and "Polegnala e Todora (Todora Took a Nap)" begin to hint about how a more playful and festive mode of traditional Bulgarian music would have sound in these capable hands. But even on these pieces the duo still prefers to keep the reserved and lyrical mode of interplay.

Impressive on its emotional and lyrical side. Still, more edgy playing would have balanced this duo.

Track Listing: Devoiko Mart Hubava (Beautiful Young Lady); Oblache Le Bialo (Little White Cloud); Silent Prayer; Improvasation #1; Blues for Clever Peter; Lale Li Si Zyumbiul Li Si (Are You a Tulip, Are You a Hyacinth); Improvisation #2; Polegnala e Todora (Todora Took a Nap); Hubava Si Moia Goro (You Are Beautiful My Forest).

Personnel: Hristo Vitchev: guitar, piano; Liubomir Krastev: clarinet.

Title: Rhodopa | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: First Orbit Sounds


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

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 "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "The Coyote" CD/LP/Track Review The Coyote
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "Easy Living" CD/LP/Track Review Easy Living
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "Tales & Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Tales & Tones
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Transient" CD/LP/Track Review Transient
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Omío" CD/LP/Track Review Omío
by James Nadal
Published: August 31, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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