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ULTRAMARINE ~ NEBOCRY
FOR TUNE 0049 (Barcode: 5902768701388) ~ UKRAINE ~ Jazz-World Fusion

Recorded: 2012 Released: 2014

This is the debut album by the international Ethnic Jazz quartet UltramarineFind albums by this artist, which consists of Ukrainian vocalist Uliana HorbachevskaFind albums by this artist, veteran Lithuanian saxophonist Petras VysniauskasFind albums by this artist, Ukrainian bassist Mark TokarFind albums by this artist and German drummer Klaus KugelFind albums by this artist, who is the moving force behind this project. The album presents six improvised pieces, all credited to all four quartet members. The music was recorded live at a church in Lviv, Ukraine.

The musical concept behind this album is an amalgam of Ukrainian Folk and Free Jazz improvisation, which follows many similar projects of this kind that sprung on the East European scene in the last decade. The vocal parts / songs represent the folkloristic motifs and the three instrumentalists add their improvised parts around these motifs. The formula is pretty basic and therefore also open and spacey, allowing all the quartet members to initiate and respond to what the other musicians are doing.

Although the music is free spirited, it is also surprisingly melodic and lyrical, contrary to what one might expect from the lineup. Horbachevska sings in a typical folkloristic manner, using vibrato and dramatic modulation, but also moves away from the basic melody lines using vocalese. She is definitely the anchor of this music, and without her it would simply disintegrate. Vysniauskas weaves beautiful melodies on his soprano saxophone as if charming snakes, showing his incredible talent, sadly seldom appreciated by Western European audiences. Tokar plays empathically, providing the bottom sound needed for the music to lean upon and Kugel as usually ornaments the proceedings with his dynamic rolls and explosions.

Overall this is a highly engaging experience, with a very specific aesthetics, which might be a bit bizarre and difficult for some listeners, but is definitely worth getting into. The amalgamation of seemingly incompatible musical elements is often the ultimate challenge and this quartet manages to achieve a true symbiosis, which us definitely praiseworthy.

As usual the Polish For Tune label proves to be able to reach beyond any conventions and brings us innovative, challenging musical explorations, which constantly expands our conception of music. Well done indeed!
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