Saturday, November 21, 2009
Five Spot - Poltva (SoLyd Records, 2009) ****
The band's name reveals that this is a quintet, with Lithuanian Petras Vysniauskas on soprano, Ukranians Yury Yaremchuk soprano, alto and clarinets, and Mark Tokar on bass, German Klaus Kugel on drums and Roberta Piket from the US on piano. All five musicians have solid backgrounds, both in traditional contexts as in a more free environment, as is the case here, for this live performance at the Lviv Jazz Festival in Ukraine in 2007, and it is free jazz in the spirit of the seventies, with the whole band working together on a coherent musical flow, rhytmic and forward-moving, with the musicians very concerned to build a unique sound rather than using the improvisation for personal expression. In the hands of lesser musicians this becomes a perfect recipe for either chaos or boredom, but you get the opposite here: discipline and deep listening skills, creativity and variation make this quite a captivating program.