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Miroslav Vitous: Universal Syncopations II

Jerry D'Souza By

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Miroslav Vitous is the centrifugal force of Universal Syncopations II. He composed, arranged, directed, produced, engineered and archived the music, which was recorded between November 2004 and April 2005.

Vitous uses different combinations to play his music. He moves from a trio to a quintet and, where necessary, has overdubbed orchestral parts or has multi-tracked vocals to give effect to his vision.

Orchestration courses through "Opera, on which the main proponents are Bob Mintzer (tenor saxophone), Gary Campbell (soprano saxophone), Randy Brecker (trumpet), Adam Nussbaum (drums) and Vitous. It is an odd tune. There are several strands incorporated with voices rising in operatic aria, funk coming in on the tenor, and then settling into a boppish groove, the beat driven by Nussbaum, while a choir of strings moves across and out.

Vitous' compositions tend to be fragile. They are atmospheric and float largely through the veins of classical music. His musicians have to grab and give the momentum form. "The Prayer comes in on the wisps of Gary Campbell's tenor saxophone. He gradually etches the notes deeper, and gets into a conversation with Vitous, but the whole is marked by an exercise in changing timbre and resonance without finding that emotional palette. "Gmoong dispenses with a drummer. Vitous is joined by Bob Mintzer on tenor saxophone and Randy Brecker on trumpet. Here too the mood is sombre, whether Mintzer and Brecker unveil symmetrical lines or go their own ways to improvise. There is an occasional break from the stillness but it is the pared down styling that holds the cup.

Vitous syncopations have a mood, but they don't quite capture the universal heart.


Track Listing: Opera; Breakthrough; The Prayer; Solar Giant Mediterranean Love; Gmoong; Universal Evolution; Moment.

Personnel: Miroslav Vitous: double-bass; Bob Mintzer: tenor saxophone (1, 6, 7), bass clarinet (7); Gary Campbell: soprano saxophone (1, 2, 4, 5, 7); tenor saxophone (3); Randy Brecker: trumpet (1, 6); Adam Nussbaum: drums (1); Gerald Cleaver: drums (2-5, 7); Daniele di Bonaventura: bandoneon (5); Bob Malach: tenor saxophone (8); Vesna Vaiko-Ciceres: voice (8).

Title: Universal Syncopations II | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: ECM Records

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