Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Album Review: Zvjezdan Ruzic - The Knightingale Cabaret

Zvjezdan Ruzic 
The Knightingale Cabaret
*** out of *****

Most of our finds during Jazzy January are more the scaled down trios, electronic experimenters of funky players, not this time. Zvjezdan Ruzic has put together a large musical suite that he calls The Knightinale Cabaret and this is a solid large scale album. 

The musical excursions all run long (shortest of the six is still over eight minutes) but the fullness of sound and lush production flow throughout. Ruzic is a Croatian piano player and composer and he brought together a slew of great players from neighboring countries. The players, trumpet - Tomaž Gajšt, soprano sax - Vojkan Jocić, tenor sax - Lenart Krečič, bass - Luka Veselinović, drums - Adriano Bernobić, vocal - Alba Nacinovich all work wonderfully together.

On the opening "Moreska" the group is locked in, moving fluidly together while still giving soloists time to experiment inside the frame work of the song. The upbeat, cascading number won the Porin Award in Croatia for the Best Jazz Composition and with its pacing, playing and joyous feel it is easy to see why as it is the standout track here.

The swelling, theatrical drama is amped for the title effort, which has Eastern European moods running through it while "Bigot Land" is more stop start and aggressive. "Alkar Salko", opens with ease and grace before dipping into darker places led by Ruzic piano while "Lindo" plays with a tension under the surface

The disk closes with "The End of Act 1" (which showcases Nacinovich's vocals) indicating there may be more coming from this group of players and that would be a good thing as the dynamic Knightingale Cabaret is welcomed listening for any jazz fan.
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