The Jazz.com Blog
September 10, 2009 · 0 comments
On the piano and musical continuum, you couldn't get much farther away from boogie woogie and stride than Evgeny Lebedev, a Russian-born recent Berklee graduate. The post-modern, polymetric, high intensity arrangements of his compositions were like a refined, rarefied acoustic Meshugah. Lebedev's comfort with complex rhythmic patterns is no wonder since they are a key element in Eastern European music.
The impressionistic opening of "Russian Dance" (on which I thought I heard recorded vocal tracks) meandered from 11/4 to 5/4 to 3/4 and back to the combination of figures of 6 and 5 as the band added heft and textures. When they played "Footprints," you could hear it in 3/4 or 4/4, so integrated was the feel of triplets on four.
Lebedev, an accomplished pianist, is a highly lyrical, astute player with sweet edges, but the trio, an integrated, communicative unit supported by the taut, fierce drumming of Lee Fish, pushed into more hard-driving grooves for this set. "Fairy Tale" started with a rubato bass solo, and as Haggai Cohen Milo shaped and heightened it, the piano entered with a chromatic run that set the move towards a fierce solo worthy of the Brothers Grimm. The mood ranged from the meditative introduction of "In Her Eyes" over light pedal point to the Jarrettesque solo on "From East to West" The bass had an assertive role, setting up the embellished rolling groove to the Shorter tune and plugging into the development of a hard-swinging solo over the changes. Later, Milo added fat, feathery guitaristic bass lines and strummed chords to a Bulgarian-inspired tune.
Lebedev has matured a lot in just one year; his music has deeper conviction His upcoming CD, From East to West, will feature Terri Lyne Carrington.
This blog entry posted by Roanna Forman. For links to the rest of Formanís coverage of the festival, click here.