Sep 26 2013
At its core, the Vit Kristan Project is a jazz piano trio. But on its new release Imprints, their core is just the jumping off point. Between the trio and guest musicians, the backgrounds and influences of the contributing artists allow them to focus on a variety of regional jazz sounds… Scandinavian, Polish, Czech, and New York City. But the shaping didn’t end there, as this album has a handful of modern straight-ahead tunes, but also veers into blends of fusion with a sparkled polish, folk tunes with strong roots, and others tunes that do more rocking out than bopping along.
In some ways, it’s a scattershot approach to album construction, but the piano trio core maintains a cohesion, and thus, no matter what the jazz facet that’s on display, no matter the regional dialect or guest instrumentation, these are all delightful songs that clearly originate from the same delightful album.
Your album personnel: Vit Kristan (piano, Fender Rhodes, keyboards, vocal), Roman Vicha (drums, percussion), Jaromir Honzak (double bass, bass guitar), and guests: Oskar Torok (trumpet), Marek Kadziela (guitar), and Agnieszka Twardoch (vocal).
There’s the straight-ahead “Missing Part of the Story,” where Kristan’s piano rides Vicha and Honzak’s post-bop rhythmic wave. “In Around” returns to that formula, though where on the former track Kristan was leading the charge, on the latter, he’s content to let his piano settle into the middle of the pack and become an additional force of motion.
“Open Ground” heads into modern fusion territory, led by electric guitar and keyboards, trading burned and bright notes. “In Around” returns to that territory, but echoes the fusion the 1970s… a touch of psychedelia, but just a touch, and notes that pop and crackle rather than slash and burn.
“Magnolia” is a shelter of melody in a rhythmic downpour… the kind of piano trio song that further illustrates Brad Mehldau’s influence over the jazz piano realm.
“Snáře” is, perhaps, the prettiest tune on the album. Kristan sings out a folk tune with a lullaby warmth. Backed by trumpet and his own piano, the song twitters with life even as it incites the mind to drift off contentedly to sleep.
“Dreams” is a song meant to be played when the moon is full and a hush has fallen over the city. “Lost Things” should by played under the same conditions, but with the intention of shaking a few people from their tranquility. The album ends with “Standing on the Moon,” a trio performance of trumpet, piano, and guitar that will lull that city back into a peaceful drifting reverie, and invoke the stillness yet again.
One of those nice albums that probably flew under the radar for most people.
Released on the Animal Music label.