The Road is the extremely dexterous pianist Zela Margossian's much anticipated second album. It follows her critically acclaimed and ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) nominated debut album, Transition (Art As Catharsis, 2018), and once again delivers rich instrumental textures, a distinct compositional voice, and the narrative and thematic depth that Margossian is now known for.
The Beirut-born pianist draws upon her Armenian heritage and classical music training to create a variety of moods, by blending folk-inspired and jazz-influenced tunes that are full of heart and soul. The results epitomize what that kind of fusion can achieve. Stuart Vandegraaff's playing of his soprano and alto saxophones throughout the recording is full of romantic lyricism. Adem Yilmaz's Middle Eastern-influenced percussion, combined with Alexander Inman-Hislop's drum kit and Jacques Emery's outstanding double bass work produces music that is full of enjoyable bounce and a dynamic rhythm.
The ensemble always allows space for the music's creative subtlety to shine through. On the melody of the slower-paced track, "Devotion," the strong rhythmic motifs are perfectly balanced with a hint of melancholia. "Gratitude" opens grandly, then progresses into a playful swing anchored by strong bass lines, beautifully enhanced by Vandergraaff's superb soprano saxophone. On "Timeless," Margossian is consistently on form with her pianism, while Vandergraaff evokes the composers' Middle eastern roots with his saxophone playing and Emery employs his bow on his double bass to add the requisite atmospheric tone. The band's musicianship is impeccable throughout the recording and the results achieved by all are a feast of the highest quality. This is freshly minted contemporary jazz bursting with panache.
Refuge; The Road; Devotion; Forcast; Gratitude; The Good That Exists; Timeless; On
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.
Barry O'Sullivan is a jazz broadcaster, music reviewer, and feature article contributor which is broadcast twice weekly and nationally across Australia via the Community Radio Network and streamed live each Friday from 12.00pm AEST & [email protected]