138

Hristo Vitchev Quintet: The Perperikon Suite

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Hristo Vitchev Quintet: The Perperikon Suite
The Perperikon Suite consists of seven tunes inspired by and dedicated to the ancient Thracian capital city. The ruined city is in the east of Bulgaria, home country of composer, guitarist and bandleader Hristo Vitchev. The Perperikon Suite is his third album as leader, while the work itself was premiered at the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival in 2010. The music, performed by a terrific quintet, is beautiful: it captures images not of a city in ruins but of a city full of life, of vibrant activity.

Vitchev is beautifully melodic, with a sound that readily echoes the great lyrical jazz players—Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Bucky Pizzarelli—rather than taking his inspiration from those with a more rock-oriented style. He's certainly capable of fast, hard-toned musicianship as his rhythmic patterns on "The Acropolis" demonstrate. But his warm-toned, single-note playing on the more relaxed and reflective tunes such as "The Southern City" is especially attractive.

Vitchev's fellow musicians all have key roles to play in the overall sound. They are uniformly excellent, both as ensemble players and as soloists. A front line of piano, guitar and vibes can suffer from a lack of clarity, the instruments blending into each other and losing individuality, but there is no such problem here. The three musicians have distinctive tones that are readily identifiable and Vitchev's production ensures clarity of sound.

Weber Iago was a 2009 Latin Grammy nominee. His piano playing on "The Southern City" is an object lesson in lyrical, pure and affecting soloing. In contrast, his playing on "The Great Hall" is edgier, more percussive, reflecting the tension created by drummer Joe DeRose. Vibraphonist Christian Tamburr's standout performance is on "The Palace." The tune is a flowing, mid-tempo, composition and Tamburr's solo is in perfect synchronization with the mood of the piece.

DeRose's drumming on "The Great Hall" is extraordinarily effective with a driving, emphatic, almost metallic sound that brings a tension and energy to the tune. Bassist Dan Robbins spends most of his time in the role of the band's rhythmic center, as is the lot of the talented and reliable bassist, but his emphatic, positive solo on "The Shrine of Dionysus" and his arco playing on "The Southern City" are outstanding.

The Perperikon Suite is an impressive creation. Each individual tune is beautifully crafted, but so, too, is the Suite as a whole. Vitchev's response to the ancient city is remarkable in both its conception and its performance.

Track Listing

The Stone Passage; The Palace; The Great Hall; The Shrine of Dionysus; The Acropolis; The Northern City; The Southern City.

Personnel

Hristo Vitchev: guitar; Weber Iago: piano; Christian Tamburr: vibes; Dan Robbins: bass; Joe DeRose: drums.

Album information

Title: The Perperikon Suite | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: First Orbit Sounds

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Live at Vitellos
Live at Vitellos
Michael Wolff
Read This Bitter Earth
This Bitter Earth
Veronica Swift
Read Vegetables
Vegetables
Lina Allemano Four
Read Streams
Streams
Yuma Uesaka and Marilyn Crispell

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.