1. L'Etranger 9:18
2. Timbre and Prayer 6:50
3. Komsija 7:09
4. Across the Threshold 5:25
5. Anonymous 5:26
6. Carefree 6:10
7. Long Ago (Intro) 2:00
8. Far Away 5:40
9. Sade Sati 7:17
10. Memories 4:25
11. One More Day 7:41
Malik Mezzadri - vocals, flute
Luka Ignjatovic - saxophone, flute
Kristijan Mlacak - saxophone, clarinet
Dorde Kujundzic - saxophone, clarinet
Marko Dordevic - trumpet, flugelhorn
Teodor Blagojevic - french horn
Vladimir Veres - trombone
Milos Budimirov - tuba
Noe Clerc - accordion
Vladimir Nikolov - piano, keyboards, guitars
Mihail Ivanov - bass
Srdan Ivanovic - drums, percussion
Serbian ensemble Nikolov-Ivanovic Undectet was formed back in 2017, with pianist and guitarist Vladimir Nikolov and drummer Srdjan Ivanovic as the leaders of the 11 man strong band. They are an active performing unit, and as recording artists they have released two albums to date. "Frame and Curiosity" is the most recent of these, and was self-released in 2019.
The music explored by this band is self-described as big band jazz, and while I'm not versed enough in the world of jazz to safely state that this is true about the entire album in terms of specific style this is an ensemble rather than a band, and the music explored is safely inside of the jazz universe with an expression I'd probably describe as fusion oriented in many of the compositions.
Personally I was very much taken with the opening songs on this album, and the very first son in particular. Here we get vibrant and mesmerizing music of the kind I'd describe as more of a jazzrock-oriented variety, with some intriguing folk music tendencies added to the solid groove and expressive rhythms with elegant and captivating reeds and brass playing important roles too. With a drum solo added as a bit of a bonus feature.
As the album unfolds the material starts getting more of what I'd describe as a purebred jazz orientation, and with more relaxed material finding its way into the album experience too. Expressive rhythms are a staple throughout though, and the bassist deliver some really captivating motifs throughout too, in quite a few of the compositions the drums and bass combination is of standout quality and a vital ingredient in elevating the impression of the song overall. But the elegant use of reeds, brass and accordion merits a mention too, with some fine flute moments as a bonus feature, and the guitar and the piano does an equally good job as both lead and support instruments too.
Everything about this album is of at least a solid quality, with many moments of brilliance and some songs that manage to maintain a striking and captivating mood and atmosphere throughout. When the case is that I'm a fan of rock and metal to a much greater extent than jazz, this also indicates for me that this is a production that should have a strong appeal also towards an audience that perhaps normally wouldn't be that interested in listening to jazz in the first place.
For me it's not really that important what genre and orientation a band is exploring at the end of the day. Good music is good music, and really good music will appeal also beyond a specific audience. "Frame and Curiosity" strikes me as an example of the latter, a vibrant and solid jazz album with occasional jazzrock and folk music undercurrents, presumably with material adhering to the big band description the band specify, but also well made music that I suspect will engage listeners quite a bit beyond a strict jazz-oriented crowd.
Progmessor: February 2023
The Rating Room