Saxophonist Ivan Ivanov makes his maiden voyage as a leader on Wild Flower, a marvelous recording that is steeped in the modern post bop sound. A member of a younger generation of jazz artists in Macedonia that have gained musical education outside the country, Ivanov brings a breath of fresh air with his debut.
The leader's deft compositions are what make this CD a rewarding experience. From the start, there is much excitement in the band's playing, with Ivanov's saxophone igniting fireworks with intensity and vitality throughout. He is joined by a combo he assembled during his studies at the Conservatory in Graz, Austria.
The compositions, all written by Ivanov, are not simple vamps and riffs, but are structured in such a way that they don't take much time to develop. The date kicks off with the title track, which shows that Ivanov swings and loves melody, but also has a sense of play and melodic inventiveness. "Swinging JW" is a playful gem, with double-bassist Joe Abentug and drummer Anđelko Stupar igniting a combustive drive over which Ivanov and pianist Sava Miletić deliver poignant melodies. "After the Rain" eases with its quiet moments, where Ivanov's playing is melodic, reflective, and filled with a generous spirit. The rhythmic pulse is of central importance on "Macedonian Wi Fi," a quicker-paced tune where Stupar delivers some great fills, while Miletic contributes to the spontaneous, in-the-moment feel with his pulsating melodies.
As a whole, the cohesive energy of this outfit also contributes to the date's lasting impression, as throughout they exchange sparkling asides. Wild Flower is a great start for someone with an obvious talent both for playing and composing. It is a promising debut from a young saxophonist who is arresting in both his maturity and clarity.
Track Listing: Wild Flower; Swinging JW; For R&B; After the Rain; Macedonian Wi-Fi; Monk's Notes; Traffic.
Personnel: Ivan Ivanov: tenor sax; Sava Miletić: piano; Joe Abentug; double-bass; Anđelko Stupar: drums.
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!