There seems to be no bound to what jazz can become these days. Even though jazz has its firm roots in black cultural heritage, in gospel music and the blues, throughout history the music has started to diversify up to a point where your ethnicity and experience don’t really matter anymore. A jazz musician from Atlanta is just as much as a jazz musician from Jakarta, both speak the same language, albeit with a different accent. Indeed, jazz has become an international way of communication, but it also leaves endless amounts of room for musicians to put in their past, their culture, and their experiences. This is why jazz to me is such an enjoyable genre. You always know what you’re getting, but it’s also like every band, every outfit is bringing something new to the table that you haven’t heard before.
RELEASE DATE: 03 October 2014 LABEL: Cosmic Sounds
Majamisty Trio is a Serbian musical outfit based around the clavier of Maja Alvanović, where she is joined by Ervin Malina on double bass and Ištvan Čik behind the drum kit. However, Majamisty Trio isn’t a trio in the strict sense of the word, vocalist Aleksandra Drobac-Cik makes her first appearance on the third track “Rain Dots” and the rest of “Love” features many guest musicians, amongst whom Bunford Gabor on soprano and tenor saxophones and Gisle Torvik on guitar. The deeper you get into the album, the more instruments and ideas start making their appearance, and especially towards the latter half, “Love” blossoms out into a bouquet of extraordinary diversity.
Album-opener “Thin Moon” feels like a traditional jazz song, it has its theme that gets repeated at the end, but when “Suddenly Japan” hits the floor things start to become interesting. The rhythmic bass line of the song is the first of many staccato themes and melodies that are typical to the album. The interplay here of double bass and piano is wonderful, with each instrument taking turns in playing rhythmic and melodic pieces.
“Love” as a whole contains a species of jazz that holds the exact middle between the improvisation driven work of Miles Davis during the ‘50s and the carefully crafted songs of today’s jazz rock. Every song on “Love” carries a bit of a prog rock vibe with it. There are a lot of backbeat rhythms and sharp turns in the music, and often the whole band resolves to a transitional passage that takes the song in a different direction. There’s a lot of riffing going on and that makes the music on this album very accessible to the unexperienced listener.
I want to single out Aleksandra Drobac-Cik who has a primeval vocal style that seems to go back all the way to the point in time where language did not yet exist. On this album she really elevates her voice to the status of an instrument, and as such you can safely describe Majamisty Trio as being an instrumental band. The ninja shouts on “Rain Dots” give the song a bit of a video game edge and on “Little Cosy Keysey House” she seems to be talking to herself in a mumbo-jumbo high pitched voicing that makes the song live up to the full potential of its title.
Are there any weak points to “Love”? In the first place I think the diversity of instrumentation on the album is great, but the seemingly arbitrary appearance and disappearance of guitars and vocals don’t really help in making the album feel like a full unity. The typical rhythmic melodies and staccato riffing are a very nice typical feature, but at times it all becomes a bit hard to handle, and it would be nice to hear a song that consists of some solid melodies. Everything is really jumpy and energetic, resulting in an album that sounds evasive at times.
In the end however, these are but small meddles and generally “Love” delivers a solid hour of proggy jazz tunes. The vocals are great and there are some very memorable songs on here. This is an album that has its own face, and that’s something that’s very important to me.