George Mraz: Aspen Leaf
George Mraz (bass)
Morava (Milestone MCD-9309-2)
Zuzana Lapcikova (vocals and cymbalom), Emil Vicklicky (piano).
Composed by Zuzana Lapcikova and Emil Vicklicky.
Recorded: New York, June 9-11, 2000
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
For those who may have forgotten that George Mraz's original first name is Jirì, and that he was born and raised in the Czech Republic, this tune is a perfect reminder. It's a beautiful Slavic ballad, where the bassist merges his talent as a jazz accompanist and soloist with his roots in his native Bohemia region. The sound of the cymbalom – a local hammered string instrument – fits perfectly in this context and brings a light exotic touch. The lyricism of the singer as well as the pianist's beautiful touch and voicings give us an idea of the amount of lesser known talented musicians who live behind the former Iron Curtain, yet are able to smoothly interact with such world-class musicians as Mraz and Hart.
Reviewer: Thierry QuÃ©num