Thursday, December 20, 2007

Andrea Centazzo - Voyagers (Ictus, 2007) ****

Unreal ... I don't think there is another word for this new album by Andrea Centazzo, and I must apologize for writing a review about him some days after the previous one, but well .... what the heck. So, this album is unreal because it does not sound like anything you've heard before. Master percussionist Centazzo (all percussion and vibes) sets the tone for a voyage to a variety of places on earth : Australia, Japan, Senegal, Norway, UK, India, Seychelles, Indonesia. He is accompanied on this journey by Polish singer Sylwia Bialas and German trumpeter Hans-Peter Salentin. Centazzo's playing sounds remote, as if you're listening to him from a distance, a large concert hall or something, and so do both other musicians, who play with lots of reverb and chamber effects, creating an effect of open spaces. Salentin furthermore uses every electronic possibility available today to make his trumpet create sounds previously unheard, without relinquishing the basic sounds. His playing and improvising are excellent, with some Miles references in it, also indebted to Nils Petter-Molvaer or Markus Stockhausen. As I said, Centazzo sets the tone and the pace for each track, from meditative pieces, over polyrhytmic complexities to tribal drumming, adding accents where needed. The real star of the album is the singer though. Bialas's voice is not only exceptional, both in timbre and range, but her improvizations are stunning. She uses her voice like an instrument, wordless, powerful, soaring, ... The greatest thing is the overall effect : the pure voice, the trumpet, the percussion. Pure jazz afficionados should abstain, this is nu-jazz, fusion, ambient, avant-garde new-age jazz or whatever you call it, but it's genuine, it's authentic, it's cinematic, it's dramatic, the search for expressiveness and the result are not fake, no plastic. It's real. So, well, in conclusion : it's both real and unreal.

Listen and download from Allaboutjazz or eMusic or Klicktrack.

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