Simon Nabatov: Time Labyrinth

Glenn Astarita By

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Simon Nabatov: Time Labyrinth
Pianist Simon Nabatov is well-known for his explosive semi-structured presentations and freely navigated improvisational advances within this seemingly limitless musical space. But Nabatov is a composer who often stretches the perceived limits of avant-garde jazz. With this effort, he pursues a largely new approach by employing chamberesque forums via an acoustic-electric platform, intensified by consummate woodwind aces Frank Gratkowski, Matthias Schubert and other stalwarts to round out a drummer-less Germany-based septet.

In the liners, the leader states that time is "THE category every human life and also every piece of music deal with." Nabatov also provides a rundown of each track. Nonetheless, the artist makes some bold moves by using space, minimalistic noise-shaping mechanisms, disparate sounds, and alien-like conversations, intersecting avant chamber choruses and unwinding plots, as the soloists often pepper each other during improv segments. On "Metamorph" the band's fidgety and globular dialogues conjure notions of trying to exit a maze in tandem with deconstruction efforts and fadeouts. But "Reader" is an about face of sorts, largely due to Frank Gratkowski's poignant flute passages, spurring a late-night modern jazz vibe, tempered with wraithlike qualities and pensive balladry, topped off by Hans W. Koch's fleeting synth lines and bizarre excursions with the flutist.

Each piece consists of a signature modus operandi, often expanded with building blocks, free form motifs, heavy improvisational encounters, and renegade chamber discourses. Some of these attributes ring loud on the final track, "Choral." Here, the ensemble invokes a roomy atmosphere amid gradual progressions and the hornists' torrential downpours. In the liners, Nabatov suggests it's a feelgood composition, as an animated ebb and flow sows a rambunctious escapade, heightened by his whirlwind, superspeed phrasings akin to a pro fighter's unrelenting combinations on his way to a victorious knockout!

Track Listing

Waves; Metamorph; Reader; Right Off; Repeated; Choral.


Simon Nabatov: piano; Frank Gratkowski: woodwinds; Melvin Poore: tuba; Matthias Schubert: saxophone, tenor; Shannon Barnett: trombone; Dieter Manderscheid: bass, acoustic; Hans W. Koch: synthesizer.

Album information

Title: Time Labyrinth | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Leo Records

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