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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

CD Review: The Girshevich Trio - Algorithmic Society .

Vlad Girshevich (Piano, Synthesizers); Eddie Gomez (bass); Aleks Girshevich (drums)
(Review by Steve T)
Played this a couple of times a couple of weeks ago, then became distracted by leafleting, attending and reviewing Ushaw, before coming back to it, which can be an interesting exercise to see how much you've retained.
It's a piano trio but lets you know straight out there's also strings, though not on all tracks.
As with reggae and blues, there's much debate as to how successful this can be. John Holt tried it with reggae and the jury is still out, though it didn't catch on. It's broadly agreed that BB Kings' Thrill is Gone was a success but again, it hasn't caught on. Others will have better and more contemporary examples in Jazz, but Bird and Wes are obvious ones, with both generally deemed unsuccessful.  
My first encounter was the Ramsey Lewis album Legacy with one side (vinyl/cassette) Jazz Funk and the other an attempt to marry Jazz with classical music. At the time I loved it, as did a good friend of mine, but I hadn't yet found Cecil Taylor and acoustic Herbie, nor Stravinsky and Shostakovich. I heard it again recently and still quite liked it.
This album works really well and I found myself consciously listening for the presence of strings, the fusion seeming so seamless.
I read the notes after the first couple of plays and, when they referred to the Baroque influence specifically, I thought I needed to brush up on my Bach (not). However, when I came back to it, I had put this out of my mind but distinctly recognised 'old' classical music, particularly on Far Away Place and, with Gomez' bowed bass sounding distinctly like a cello on Song of an old Tree.
Unsurprisingly, classical piano came first for the leader before he discovered Jazz, and number one son and I both came up with Bill Evans, though neither of us are as familiar with his solo stuff as we should be. I also heard Chick Corea, particularly the classical leanings of the Jazz Rock version of Return to Ever. I'll also hazard an educated(ish) guess at Keith Jarrett though I'm probably as familiar with his solo stuff as I wish to be. 
It's a strong album, recommended to anyone with a penchant for Jazz piano, irrespective of their view on strings, however, the real miracle is his twelve-year-old son on drums. With Mathew and Abbie, we're well accustomed to 'special' young drummers around these parts, but this kid is incredible.
Also recommended to drummers everywhere, it's out now on Tapestry Records.


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