Monday, March 24, 2014

Beyond CD of the Month - "Dusan Jevtovic: Am I Walking Wrong?"

Beyond CD of the Month
Dusan Jevtovic: "Am I Walking Wrong?" (MoonJune)

Featuring: Dusan Jevtovic (electric guitar), Bernat Hernandez (fretless electric bass) & Marko Djordjevic (drums)
Recorded in Banyeres del Penedes, Barcelona, and Aranys del Mar (Spain)
Mixed & mastered in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 2013
Produced by Dusan Jevtovic
Executive Producer: Leonardo Pavkovic

During my two visits to Serbia (the latest one for a Diana Krall concert in 2010) I fall in love with the country (specially cities like Belgrade and Indija) as well as with its musicians.

This international debut of Serbian guitarist, Dusan Jevtovic, is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride: full of twists and turns that you never see coming. Am I Walking Wrong? showcases moments of immense raw, explosive power, interspersed with swatches of playful dissonance, contemplative ambiance, riveting r'n'b-tinged grooves, authoritative rock vamps, and more. The tight, abundantly-capable trio confidently stride through an engaging set of original barn-burners that are as catchy and accessible as they are spellbinding and unpredictable.

Dusan wastes no time in making it clear that he is a vastly accomplished player, with a host of brilliant tones in his arsenal. (.. to go a long with a big bag of tasty chops, no less!) Armed with a style and vocabulary most players would kill for (Oz Noy meets Robert Fripp, maybe?), he propels a session that continuously cooks on high heat, providing fans of stellar guitar work -- especially satisfying to any die-hard "tone freaks" -- plenty of choice morsels into which to sink their respective teeth.

Continually pushing the envelope throughout a set which features a stream of unique, intriguing compositions, Jevtovic delivers the sonic goods with a style and flair that is mesmerizing. With the dexterity of a master technician and the soul of a gypsy, his axe work is anything other than what you might expect, but always brilliantly-conceived and -executed. There are a ton of surprises lurking -- and they're all good!

Despite the songs' innate complexities and genre-blurring proclivities, his backup never fails to perfectly compliment affairs (and in terms of musical stylings, they cover a lot of ground here.) Clearly, this is Dusan's show, but wherever he ventures – and venture he does! – his band is always right there, in perfect lock-step with him.

The structures and themes featured on this album are refreshingly unorthodox, subtly sophisticated, and compelling. The trio handles tight corners effortlessly, and maneuvers assuredly around whatever obstacles get thrown into their path. (...and, in that regard, there never seems to be a shortage: these guys just don't sit still for very long!) Odd time signatures, sudden mood swings and radical changes of direction abound, but all are handled with an unshakeable grace and radiant poise. Without question, this is a group of highly-skilled musicians with tremendous chemistry who aren't afraid to frolic anywhere; nor are they even the slightest bit hesitant or intimidated by any such prospects.

Beyond meeting the rigorous demands of building off of such an aggressive, ambitious set of musical blueprints, Dusan and company genuinely sound like they are having a blast. Even in their most tense, suspenseful moments, there is still a sense of joy and inhibition that manages to seep through. This is progressive music at its most creative, and its most artfully- and skillfully-conveyed ... it just doesn't get any fresher or any more fun!

With this fabulous release, Dusan Jevtovic has immediately cast himself as a vital, articulate new voice on guitar -- undeniably world-class, but nearly impossible to categorize or pigeonhole. His style and voicings are not confined by genre, or even hampered by preconception, but wreak of a level of excellence and an insatiable creative genius that many of his contemporaries can only hope to one day attain. Guitarists this profoundly original, spontaneous and gifted don't show up too often.

On this album, Dusan Jevtovic is accompanied by Catalian fretless bass guitarist Bernat Hernandez (a well known on the local jazz and pop scene in Barcelona), and the NY-based Serbian drummer Marko Djordjevic (“world class drummer” and “a true innovator”, as quoted by Modern Drummer Magazine), who has played on over 40 albums and has thousands of live performances to his credit -- having played with modern progressive icons such as Matt Garrison, Wayne Krantz, Jonah Smith, Gary Willis, Bill Frisell, Lionel Loueke, Aaron Goldberg, and others. The results of such mergence of these three huge talents smacks as much of originality and finesse as it does enchantment and stylistic diversity.

Am I Walking Wrong?, Dusan's initial MoonJune Records release, is an advanced-level class in "Organic Chemistry" -- signaling even more new directions for the label (and progressive music!), and documenting another "coming out party" for yet more great emerging talent. This music is simply too good to be ignored. Fans of smokin' axe work will have plenty to savor here ... dig in, while it's hot!!

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