Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kaja Draksler, The Lives of Many Others

The Ljubljana Jazz Festival in Slovenia appears to be an important event for avant jazz, judging by recordings that have been coming out from the festival of late. There apparently is so much of worth that the festival and Clean Feed records have set up a joint venture, the Ljubljana Jazz Series, a label devoted to the jazz festival performances recorded there.

Number four in the series is a solo piano recital by Kaja Draksler, The Lives of Others (Clean Feed/Ljubljana Jazz 004). She is something unusual, an avant jazz pianist-stylist in her own right.

She can create balladic quasi-stride with harmonically rich modern overtones, as she does in the beginning of this set. She can drum on the piano in ways drummers will feel at home listening to, since there are patterns of left and right hands they may well know and use themselves. And she has a feel for intervalic relations, harmonic and melodic patterning that also put her in her own special category of improvisers.

This is free improvisation with occasional references to Slovenian folk strains and a composition by Thanasis Deligiannis.

It shows an original pianistic mind at work. I expect we will be hearing much more from Kaja (I do hope so) but in the meanwhile this is a disk you'll want to check out if you find the free improv scene vital (as I do). Kudos to Ms. Draksler!

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