Recommended: Stefan Bracaval – “Insight Inside”


Stefan Bracaval - "Insight Inside"The thing that I found most appealing about Insight Inside was how this music possesses both a lighthearted joy and a real sense of gravitas.  This 2009 release from flautist Stefan Bracaval reminded me more than a little bit of the late Don Pullen’s final recordings with his African-Brazilian Connection ensemble.  They, too, had an evocative presence and a sunny disposition, blended in different regional folk influences, and even had ensemble member Carlos Ward taking a nifty turn on flute.  Bracaval captures the spirit of those lovely Pullen recordings on his way to serving up a seriously captivating album.

“Folkdance” opens things with that tone right from the start.  The absorbing conversational style of the rhythm is just as addictive as the finely woven melodic threads that run through the length of the tune.  “Arcadie” slows things down to the speed of a Spring breeze on a lazy afternoon, whereas title-track “Insight Inside” maintains the same speed but takes on the personality of moody skies rich with dark clouds and a hint of rain.  At the other end of the spectrum, “Children’s Game” gets things up tempo and a straight-ahead true blue jazz sound.

And then there’s the intriguing oddball track… a rendition of Nick Drake’s “Riverman.”  Bracaval, as much as anyone in recent memory, really captures the somber beauty of Drake’s music.  Worth noting that Nick Drake was known to incorporate flute into his songs, so it really shouldn’t be that surprising that a flautist would have some success with the Drake songbook.

Just a real enjoyable recording that I wanted to get on your radars.

Your album personnel:  Stefan Bracaval (flute, bass flute), Hendrik Braeckman (guitars), Werner Lauscher (double bass) and Mark Lehan (drums, udu).

Released in 2008 on Prova Records.

Listen to more album tracks on the Prova Records Bandcamp page.

Available at:  Bandcamp | eMusic | Amazon