Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Simon Nabatov, Loves

Jazz composer-pianist Simon Nabatov impresses with an eleven member band doing a series of eight interrelated compositions on Loves (Leo CD LR 818). The overarching theme is romantic relationships and the two vocalists Rebekka Ziegler and Tobias Christie alternately  sound as vocalese "instruments," sing in song oriented phrasings or as vocalists holding to a spoken-sung part, or for that matter reciting text poetics and evocative word interjections, all of which help further the theme and add an important component to the total group sound.

The remaining nine artists have three-fold importance--as part sounding compositional exponents, as collectively free improvisors and as individual soloists in an attractive, open-ended framework.

Simon has created an ever changing textural abundance of avant jazz that favorably reminds of some of the JCOA gems and perhaps Bley-Haden large band collaborations, yet holds its own as freely original.

Each band member contributes to the whole, each a flexible artist to work in compositional realization and free improv spontaneity that Nabatov requires for such music. He of course is the pianist throughout. There is a dramatic cadenza-solo spot for him towards the end and it adds to it all greatly. But there is so much going on throughout that one opens up to it all happily--if one is like me, anyway. There is continually a regeneration of furtherance that makes it all a very absorbing listen.

So the band is nicely rounded out by Leonhard Huhn on saxes and clarinet, Sebastian Gille on tenor sax, Udo Moli on trumpet, Janning Trumann on trombone, Axel Porath on viola, Nathan Bontrager on cello, Stefan Schonegg on bass and Dominik Mahnig on drums. A goodly gathering of players comfortable with free playing or following a chart with a complimenting loose freedom.

It all works together remarkably well. In fact I must say it ranks among the best of such things these days. Simon Nabatov shines as composer, pianist, as bandleader. It is a kind of Avant Jazz triumph, memorable with its melodic surety, ensemble power and contrasting tender sort of poetics, too. This is an album to savor. Check it out without fail if you appreciate a wall-to-wall exceptional New Thing experience today.

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