Damir Out Loud – “Graduation Day”


Damir Out Loud - "Graduation Day"Wonderful debut album by Damir Out Loud, led by trumpeter Damir Bacikin, and featuring some outstanding soloing both by Bacikin and vibraphonist Julius Heise.  And while these are definitively modern compositions, the melodic development and harmonic expressiveness also speak to the days of Jazz past.

A native of Serbia, and now a long-time resident of Berlin, Bacikin studied primarily in the classical music arena, while also performing with a local orchestra.  But he’s not the first to be trained in Classical and then drawn to Jazz, and like many of those who preceded him in that particular transition, Bacikin’s music possesses a craftsmanship that highlights the structure of compositions, and offers solos that elicit a satisfying feeling that everything is in its right place.

Your album personnel:  Damir Bacikin (trumpet), Miguel Pérez Iñesta (bass clarinet), Ferdinand “Fred” Hendrich (trombone), David Hagen (double bass), Barbara Venetikido (clarinet), Lukas Fichtner (French horn), Julius Heise (acoustic & electric vibraphones), and Miklós Szilveszter (drums).

There is an abiding warmth to this music.  The harmonies generated by the brass instruments on “Use Mine” bring a fireplace heat to balance the icy beauty of the vibraphone accompaniment.  And on “Boys Food,” vibes and trumpet provide some contrasting temperatures that come together marvelously as one.

The album has some fight to it.  Melodies are often delivered in rapid combinations of blows.  And on album opener “Face Full Of Hair,” Bacikin funnels his trumpet blasts through some electronic processing, amping up the song’s boisterousness to where each note shouts fun fun fun.

From the musicians’ backgrounds (both in terms of geographical bios and training) and the variations between album songs, there’s some indication of mixed influences, but overall, the album maintains a pretty consistent sound…  “Foreign Office Voyage” stays into free jazz territory and “Miles Smiles” touches upon the sounds of the song’s musical reference, but that’s about as close as any particular song gets to shattering cohesion.

And speaking of album cohesion, compositions return to previous themes repeatedly throughout this album.  The metallic whine and scattered rhythms that open “Introducing D’n’b” are a mirror image of the sounds accompanied by Bacikin’s breathy trumpet notes on the free improv interlude of “Foreign Office Voyage.”  The trio of songs that bring the album to its conclusion reference similarly punchy melodic lines, giving a sense of one long medley of tunes.  It conjures up the sensation of a sonic game of deja vu.

Just a real nice album, and definitely one that could slip under the radar.  Hopefully this review will help prevent that.

Released on the Unit Records label.

Jazz from the Berlin scene.

Available at eMusic.  Available at Amazon: MP3