All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

545

Savina Yannatou & Primavera en Salonico: Songs Of An Other

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
The mesmerizing Songs Of An Other is the second ECM studio recording for vocalist Savina Yannatou and the instrumental group Pimavera en Salonico. Their first ECM release, Terra Nostra (2003), was live and not actually recorded, but licensed by ECM, which led to their first studio ECM recording, Sumiglia (2005).

Pimavera en Salonico has been together for fifteen years with basically the same members, and creates arrangements of traditional or folk music from lands in a great arc from Spain through Southern Italy and Greece, the Balkans, the Caucasus and back down through the Levant. However, rather than being a performing museum, Yannatou (the lead vocalist), Kostas Vomvolos (the main arranger and music director), and Primavera en Salonico extract the emotional essence of each piece to create what are essentially mini-dramas.

This collective have so far progressed over the years in the direction of increasing improvisation that on Songs Of An Other, the distinction between Yannatou as lead singer in front, and the supporting background group, has been virtually eliminated. While this growth is quite audible between the albums, the current release stands on its own as an amazing performance which documents each virtuoso contributing to the whole.

Although the music's basic sound cannot be separated from its origins in scales, rhythms and instrumentation, the performances, starting with Yannatou's, seem so strong as to create a sound and aesthetic that is sui generis. As each track proceeds, the group manages to create a unique sound and emotional world that raises the music above and beyond its origins to the realm of "just" music - and since improvisation is a major component - you can also call it "jazz."

Vocalist Yannatou is naturally heard out front; however, her transparent emotionality through phrasing and pitch control, especially when combined with her extended techniques which include controlled shrieks and moans, transform her voice in another instrument that is part of the ensemble.

Not knowing the languages of the pieces is actually a plus, since the syllables tend to become abstract sounds, even if they are grouped into phrases that imply language. Vomvolos' arrangements sound wide open and allow the ensemble to almost magically translate each tune's melody and underlying linguistic meaning into musical emotions.

This set includes two compositions, "O Yannis kai O Drakos" and "Perperouna," which are composed by differing subsets of the group. Because these pieces completely meld the dramatic, the vocal and the instrumental, they may show where Yannatou and Primavera en Salonico could be heading, which makes Songs Of An Other an even more amazing listen.

Track Listing: Saerei Hovin Mernem; Za liobih maimo tri momi; Smilj Smiljana; Dunie Au; O Yannis kai O Drakos; Albanian Lullabye; Omar hashem leyakoyv; Radile; Sassuni Oror; Addio Amore; Perperouna; Ah Marouli.

Personnel: Savina Yannatou: voice; Yannis Alexandris: oud, guitar; Kyriakos Gouventas: violin, viola; Harris Lambrakis: nay; Michalis Siganidis: double-bass; Kostas Theodorou: percussion, double-bass; Kostas Vomvolos: quanun, accordion.

Title: Songs Of An Other | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
 

Songs for Kommeno

Intakt Records
2013

buy
 

Songs of an Other

JazzMa Records
2009

buy
Songs Of An Other

Songs Of An Other

ECM Records
2008

buy
Sumiglia

Sumiglia

ECM Records
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Humanities CD/LP/Track Review
Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Wild Is The Wind CD/LP/Track Review
Wild Is The Wind
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review
Fairytales
by Gareth Thompson
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read "Danza Imposible" CD/LP/Track Review Danza Imposible
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2017
Read "Live at Nectar’s" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Nectar’s
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 14, 2017
Read "Ritual" CD/LP/Track Review Ritual
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 25, 2018
Read "Music For David Mossman / Live At Vortex London" CD/LP/Track Review Music For David Mossman / Live At Vortex London
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 7, 2018
Read "Signaling" CD/LP/Track Review Signaling
by Troy Dostert
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "Right Up On" CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 12, 2017