Saturday, November 7, 2009

DVD of the Month - "JP3: Understandable"

DVD of the Month
jp3: "Understandable" (Alexander Logistics)

An amazing and instigating set by a superb Bulgarian trio, led by pianist Jivko Petroff with the invaluable help of his no less creative colleagues Dimitar Semov (drums) and Vesselin Vesselinov-Eko (acoustic bass).
Filmed live (with six cameras) during a concert at the Military Club in Sofia, this DVD has a pristine 5.1 Dolby Surround audio quality (the musicians themselves took care of the mixing) and a first-class visual editing, not to mention the deluxe digipack graphic design by Ivo Hristov.
Directed by Dimitar Mitov, "Understandable" showcases the hip organic concept of the jp3 in 11 tracks, all signed by Petroff. A highly original composer, Jivco Petroff offers to his mates the chance to dive into the essence of very challeging tunes, often achieving the miracle of a true collective improvisation where no second is wasted.
Vesselin mixes the precision of Richard Davis with Charlie Haden's musical liberation, while Dimitar transcends the role of a conventional drummer, using a set/drumkit that allows him to paint rhythmic colors with impeccable subtlety, incorporating different kinds of sticks, brushes, mallets and cymbals, besides some percussion instruments that add extra dimension to his strong contribution, inciting Petroff's adventurous solos on an acoustic Petrof grand piano.
Playing with tremendous inventiviness, the trio creates a fascinating sensation of musical interpenetration throughout the concert, which lasts 68 minutes. It's almost impossible to mention highlights, but my personal favorite tracks are the opener "Fancy," "Keep This," "Opium," "Nova Bossa" and the fiery "X Man". The somehow funky "Cool and Easy" appears as the encore, with the audience snapping fingers. An alternate short version of the title track, "Understandable," is included as a undounted bonus.
It's the best jazz I've heard from Bulgaria since the groundbreaking recordings of Milcho Leviev during the 70s and early 80s. Essential.
(from left to right: Vesselin, Jivko & Dimitar)

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