JAVIER VERCHER / FERENC NEMETH - IMAGINARY REALM
A highly moody atmospheric CD, Imaginary Realm by saxist/percussionist Javier Vercher and drummer/percussionist Ferenc Nemeth harks back to when ECM Records was making its mark in austere chamber jazz that blended free music with neoclassical airs and the sort of hybridizations the band Oregon was pulling off to highly refined but spectacular effect. Pianist David Kikoski appears on 5 of the 11 cuts and only beefs up the duet's wont, especially in the title track. This disc features work that transcends thinking, stepping over into mystery and expansions, the far side-roads of the everyday verging into Rousseauvian jungles and arid plains, conversing with the spirits and essences residing there.
I guess you could call this free jazz, though it's highly aesthetically disciplined (as the best free musics are) and several songs arose just from the coining of a title, intuitively exploring what was tucked away in the words and their evocations. Do not play this at a party unless you want your guests sitting down to discuss philosophy for the rest of the evening (which, frankly, is EXACTLY what I'd do) because, though one cut is romantic (Come Sunday, and I guess you could see Circles in the Sky as partially so, especially if you've been downing Jagermeisters and feeling sideways and upside-down), the rest are art with a capital 'A' and not meant for mall shopping excursions, though, heh!, I sure as hell would love to see how people would react should music like this suddenly waft over the speaker systems in those vapid soulless places.
It's difficult to draw comparatives here. I'm minded of Jay Zelenka (perc.) and Greg Mills' (piano) old Exiles band and also of Steve Tibbetts (guitar)and Marc Anderson (perc.), but only because those units also paired up so well and produced largely uncategorizable musics. Here, all three gents go wild on Giant Henge, Nemeth putting in a really impressive performance, but no matter what the mood--pensive, zoned-out, wandering, or nailing down a single thought--the sounds can't help but capture attention, whether through seduction, an outright lunge for the frontal lobes, or a professorial art tour, and that sort of creativity comes around all too infrequently. You'll be just as drawn to Javier's design and photographic work as well: the b&w cover photo is worthy of museum display and the interior double-spread provides as much material for speculation and analysis as a poem. That guy and his partner knew precisely what they were doing in every aspect of this release.
Silent Stones (Vercher / Nemeth)
Imaginary Realm (Javier Vercher)
Poets of the East (Ferenc Nemeth)
Form & Meaning (Javier Vercher)
Drums (Ferenc Nemeth)
Prana (Ferenc Nemeth)
Circles in the Sky (Ferenc Nemeth)
Sumerian Magic Spell (Javier Vercher)
Giant Henge (Ferenc Nemeth)
Prana (Revisited) (Ferenc Nemeth)
Bonus "Hidden" Track: Come Sunday (no writing credit given)