Ukrainian pianist/composer Misha Alperin with a dark and lyrical mix of classical...
Liz Mundler 2002-11-20
This fantastically moody disc is somehow unclassifiable. Sometimes jazz, sometimes classical, definitely crossover in the truest sense of the word. Ukrainian pianist Misha Alperin is the inspiration behind it. He wrote the work Night in response to a commission from the 25th VossaJazz Festival in Norway (April 1998), and this is a live recording made at that event. Classically trained, Alperin came late to jazz, but has developed his own very personal style interwoven with folk influences from his musical roots.
The gorgeously mellow velvet-black sound of cellist Anja Lechner suits Alperin's meditative meanderings perfectly. "Adagio" is particularly stilling, with melodic wanderings complemented by moments of harmonic peace and clarity.
"Tango" is a different story, but told in the same language. Here a tamed riot of energy meets Alperin's restraining calm, tempered by the understated contributions of Norwegian percussionist Sørensen. He and his marimba come into their own in "Second Game", where all 3 musicians join together in what begins as a sort of fugue, melds itself into several minutes of harmonically rich Glassian minimalism, and eventually develops into an energetic driving jig-style 6/8 rhythm.
"Night", says Alperin, "is a time of suprises". And surprises there are, from the vocal contributions from the percussionist, to the startlingly dramatic ending to "Second Game"; "you can walk through a silent village and catch a blast of sound from a bar door suddenly thrown open". Ah, perhaps that's what it was. "Heavy Hour" is another track which will wake you up rather than send you to sleep, with tribal rhythms and a twangy-zangy cello sound which even sets your teeth on edge at times.
The title trackhas got to be the most atmospheric: a faintly eerie percussive tick-tock sets the scene, joined by arching, sighing cello phrases and occasional keyboard outbursts. Some of the harmonic tensions and resolutions reach right into the soul.
"It's music for those hours when you don't need to prove anything to the world, when the need for self-presentation subsides".
Its true. This is a disc of few or no inhibitions; it really seems to come from the heart. It is artless art.