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(37:43; Moonjune Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Intro 1:28 2. Sleeping Beauty 6:00 3. The Man with the Harmonica 7:04 4. Guchi 6:46 5. Andreas 2:15 6. Rues des Balkans 5:41 7. Sleeping Beauty (solo guitar) 2:12 8. A l'Aube du Cinquieme Jour (Gott Mit Uns) 4:38 9. Outro 1:39 LINEUP : Srdjan Ivanovic - drums, keyboards Andreas Polyzogopoulus - trumpet Federico Casagrande - guitars Mihail Ivanov - bass with: Magic Malik – flute
Prolusion. Currently based in France, the band BLAZIN' QUARTET have a history that goes back to 2009 or thereabouts, with drummer Srdjan Ivanovic as the band leader if I have understood the band history correctly. From 2010 and onward they have released new material every few years, with four albums to their name so far. "Sleeping Beauty" is their most recent studio album, and was released through the label Moonjune Records at the start of 2021.
Analysis. While this latest album by Blazin' Quartet can be described and categorized in a few different manners, I'm going to settle for jazz as the genre of choice here. As there are elements of other styles of music present, I guess that fusion is a more specific categorization that should fit the proceedings here, although the many variations of jazz isn't a strength of mine as such. It should also be noted that the material here by and large is instrumental, with vocals only used sparingly as a provider of timbre and tone in a non-verbal manner. It is a production that is fairly laid back on most levels. The tempo is slow, the arrangements careful, and dramatic, challenging and demanding instrument displays are by and large avoided. The album is called "Sleeping Beauty" for a reason, as sleep and beauty are two distinct associations that are present on just about all the compositions here. That being said, this isn't a sleep inducing album, nor is it uninteresting. The trumpet provides hauntingly beautiful textures, the wandering plucked guitar is an ongoing, elegant and smooth provider of details throughout, and the rhythm department caters for many fine, careful details with a warm bass sound and some subtly crisp drum and percussion patterns that catch your attention. The flute appears on a few cuts and with it comes some folk and world music details that expands the scope of the album quite nicely, and it is in those songs that we find the nonverbal vocals mentioned earlier too. It should also be noted that all the instrumentalists are given space and room to be expressive. While not in a dramatic manner as such, with one possible exception, being expressive in a more careful and subdued manner calls for its own special set of skills and the band members master this skill very well indeed. Arguably with drummer Ivanovic as the star provider here, as being expressive with the drums without being dominant nor dramatic is something of an art form in itself. Mix and production is executed in the same elegant manner as the band performance here, and with songs that are well planned and executed too this production is one of many fine productions I encounter where the quality of the content cannot be questioned, and where personal taste in music will dictate how much - or not - you will enjoy the album.
Conclusion. Blazin' Quartet's latest album "Sleeping Beauty" is an aptly named production, with laid back and careful compositions exploring an elegant variety of jazz of the kind I would categorize as fusion, with a light touch of folk music and rock music added as seasoning. Subtle expressive instrument details is something of a defining trait of this production, with haunting trumpet textures and smooth, elegant plucked guitars as the dominant instruments. A production to seek out by those who like a careful and elegant variety of jazz and fusion where the expressive aspects are present in a subtle and unobtrusive manner.
Progmessor: August 2021
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