Thursday, February 14, 2008

Yatoku (NotTwo Records, 2007) ****

"Yatoku" is an acronym that stands for Yuriy Yaremchuk on saxophones, Mark Tokar on double bass and Klaus Kugel on drums. Yaremchuk is a Russian who moved to Lviv in The Ukraine, the city where bassist Mark Tokar was raised and educated. Kugel is from Germany. Does that mean anything? Yes, to a certain extent, because the musicians are very much in the more European free jazz tradition, which is closer to free improv, a little harsher, less soulful at times, but no less interesting musically. Yet here they bring a mix. The first track starts quietly and slowly, then becomes a little fiercer without turning violent, ending emotionally strong, and evolving seamlessly in the second track which starts with a nice bass introduction, after which Yaremchuk plays some beautiful, almost sentimental phrases (and I've heard them before, and I've been wracking my brain for the past few days to find where I heard it before, and while writing this it now comes to mind : reminiscent of a Dewey Redman phrase on Keith Jarrett's Survivor's Suite), which turns into a pre-composed melody and even a bop vamp into great agonizing free frenzy, to the great delight of the Polish audience. The third track changes moods and modes completely, bringing a hesitant, gentle approach to sound and tension, apparently improvized on the spot and with great results. And the joy is continued on the following track, starting with a solo sax intro, in which Yaremchuk bares his soul in several minutes of highly controlled emotional tension, that makes you want to cry in sympathy, that deep he goes, suddenly released from his pain by the rhythm section which takes the sax on for a ride in some wild territory, bop-based, but wild, with a halting rhythm, with surprising turns and twists, some moments of fluid forward propulsion and screeching release of tension, with telepathic changes and shifts, unbelievably strong. The other tracks move on in the same vein : excellent jazz, excellent music, excellent and definitely under-exposed musicians. And the audience enjoys it. And rightly so.

You can order at iRock Productions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please note that comments on posts do not appear immediately - unfortunately we must filter for spam and other idiocy.