My wheelhouse for more traditional jazz seems to be having a tremendous amount of European influence. The influx of European players and their cultural D.N.A when it comes to the improvised music we refer to as jazz in the United States is innovative and takes the music to both a visceral and cerebral level sometimes missing from American artists that at times can seem a bit complacent with their craft. Marko Djordjevic is a world class drummer, a prolific composer and perhaps the finest drummer that seems to be lingering just below the surface of more wide spread acceptance.
It is a long way from Serbia to New Orleans but the commonality is the rolling groove and relentless passion that Djordjevic & Sveti bring to the table. While an A list band turns in a phenomenal outing, the two tenor players being Eli Degibri and Tivon Pennicott are eerily reminiscent of the old school blowing sessions that some Blue Note and Impulse recordings were famous for back in the sixties. Odd meters and mixed with a myriad of cultural influences are indeed the future for more traditional jazz with Djordjevic leading the way.
"Heart Bop" is a high octane burner that sidesteps the traditional form and function of western influence to push the virtuosic improvisations to a new level while never losing the overwhelming lyrical sense of purpose. "Which Way Is Down" is a 180 degree turn around that has a bright and breezy piano that manages to maintain the percussive driving force while creating a new and underlying dynamic tension which the band seems to feed off of. The beautiful ballad "Svetlana" dials the trio back allowing the subtle nuances of Djordjevic to come front and center.
The group dynamic here is free and unforgiving with each voice allowed to make their own musical statement. For creativity and approach this release would get five stars. Everything else is simply gravy on what is a true sleeper and stellar performance for 2013.
Tracks: Heart Bop; Which Way Is Down; Svetlana; Ten Large Serbians; Home Made; Something Beautiful; 2007; Chimes; Flaxy World; War Song; Celebration; Svetlana Swinging On A Summer Evening.
Personnel: Marko Djordjevic: drummer, leader, composer; Bobby Avey: piano; Desmond White: acoustic bass; Eli Degibri: tenor sax; Tivon Pennicott: tenor sax.