All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

175

Hristo Vitchev Quintet: The Perperikon Suite

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
While Bulgaria and the Monterey Peninsula are worlds apart, culturally and geographically speaking, guitarist Hristo Vitchev successfully reconciled these differences in September of 2010. Vitchev, a Bulgarian-born guitarist living in the San Francisco Bay area, premiered his seven-movement Perperikon Suite at the 53rd Monterey Jazz Festival, and presents this music in stunning fashion on this recording. While the title of the suite takes its name from the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon, located in present day Bulgaria, the music doesn't demonstrate any Eastern European allegiance. In fact, all seven pieces are wholly unique and alien to any single culture or influence.

Shimmering harmonies resonate throughout these modern jazz marvels, and the soloists work their way around and through this accessible and exciting music with equal measures of taste, technique and spirit. Vitchev's pieces are peppered with signpost sonorities and ideas that often reappear throughout a given song, creating a sense of continuity and thematic steadiness that develops around individual soloists. While this group ably establishes its own aural identity, which threads its way through the whole album, each movement of the suite has different strengths and a unique sonic footprint.

Uncertainty and randomness give way to music with the appearance of a processed patina on "The Great Hall," but frenzied solo work from Vitchev, pianist Weber Iago and vibraphonist Christian Tamburr is really at the heart of the matter. Vitchev continually shifts gears on "The Acropolis," moving between intense and driven desires and a more relaxed outlook, and he presents a more exotic locale with "The Northern City." Vitchev and Iago deliver a slew of strong solo performances on the album, but they seem to reach a new level of creativity as they find their way into the very rhythmic fabric of this music.

While the roles of these musicians often overlap throughout the album, drummer Joe DeRose and bassist Dan Robbins have their own unique job descriptions. DeRose drives the music with his busy, yet under the surface, cymbal work, while Robbins anchors the music and provides contrast with his own fluid solo style. Robbins doesn't get quite as much space as some of the other musicians on the album, but his every solo spot draws immediate attention and the band seems to recede into the background ("The Stone Passage"), in order to provide him with an appropriate stage to share his talents.

While The Perperikon Suite contains gentle journeys and ominous encounters along the way, tenderness wins out in the end. "The Southern City," which begins with some graceful piano and arco bass, seduces with its beauty and refinement. Brought to life as a tale of two cities, The Perperikon Suite ultimately occupies its own wondrous world within the confines of its jazz borders.

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.

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

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

In Search of Wonders

In Search of Wonders

Hristo Vitchev
In Search of Wonders

The Acropolis

The Acropolis

Hristo Vitchev
The Perperikon Suite

Musica Humana

Musica Humana

Hristo Vitchev
Heartmony

Wounded by a Poisoned Arrow

Wounded by a Poisoned Arrow

Hristo Vitchev
Familiar Fields

CD/LP/Track Review
Catching Up With
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Read more articles
Of Light and Shadows

Of Light and Shadows

First Orbit Sounds
2018

buy
In Search of Wonders

In Search of Wonders

First Orbit Sounds
2016

buy
Hristo Vitchev Quartet: Familiar Fields

Hristo Vitchev...

First Orbit Sounds
2013

buy
Familiar Fields

Familiar Fields

First Orbit Sounds
2013

buy
Rhodopa

Rhodopa

First Orbit Sounds
2013

buy
Rhodopa

Rhodopa

First Orbit Sounds
2012

buy

Related Articles

Read Orientation CD/LP/Track Review
Orientation
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 18, 2018
Read Romaria CD/LP/Track Review
Romaria
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 18, 2018
Read You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl! CD/LP/Track Review
You Eat My Food, You Drink My Wine, You Steal My Girl!
by Jerome Wilson
Published: February 18, 2018
Read Autres Paysages CD/LP/Track Review
Autres Paysages
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 18, 2018
Read Elvesang CD/LP/Track Review
Elvesang
by John Kelman
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Necessary Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Necessary Arrangements
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Lacy Pool_2" CD/LP/Track Review Lacy Pool_2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 14, 2017
Read "Qitara" CD/LP/Track Review Qitara
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds" CD/LP/Track Review Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "Trillium Falls" CD/LP/Track Review Trillium Falls
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "avantNOIR" CD/LP/Track Review avantNOIR
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "For the Love of You" CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017