An energized and impassioned studio session from New York-based Slovenian saxophonist Jure Pukl, Croatian pianist Matija Dedić and their quartet with bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Johnathan Blake brings new release, Hybrid, to the Whirlwind label.Pukl’s prolific ascendancy of the international jazz scene has resulted in numerous solo and sideman recordings, recognised in 2015 by the attainment of Slovenia’s highest national arts award. His collaborations include names such as Branford Marsalis, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Dave Liebman and Vijay Iyer; and like-minded colleague Matija Dedić’s varied career has seen him perform with artists including Larry Grenadier, John Hollenbeck, Jeff Ballard and Kendrick Scott.
Across a venturesome sixty-seven minutes of mostly original numbers, the individual compositions of both Pukl and Dedić stimulate a fiery, improvisational spirit throughout the quartet, their respect for tradition translating into a spontaneous, contemporary context which also embraces elements of free jazz. Pukl relates the story that, as a funk-loving youth in Slovenia, he asked his father to return from a business trip in Munich with Maceo Parker records, only to be mistakenly brought vinyls by (to him, at the time) the unknown and perplexing Charlie Parker. But after a week, the saxophonist fell in love with them, closely followed by the sounds of John Coltrane and Stan Getz/João Gilberto: “These are artists and recordings I still recognize as my inspiration”.
Dedić’s ‘Hempburger’ and ‘Plan B’ highlight this quartet’s traditional influences with vigor, his own chordal piano foundation and rolling solos prominent throughout whilst featuring scintillating percussion from Johnathan Blake; and in a beautiful tune dedicated to Dedić’s late father, ‘Family’s obvious warmth is enhanced by Matt Brewer’s bass searching combined with ravishing tenor imaginings from Aldana. Initially quizzical ‘False Accusations’ eventually sparkles with boisterous positivity, Pukl’s tenor gliding across its choppy waters; and the late-hours first-take flow of Ornette Coleman’s ‘Lonely Woman’ simmers to misterioso piano and bass clarinet.
“There’s a really good vibe and energy between the four of us, so we got into some special moments on this record”, recalls Pukl. “We all know each other well and feel connected; and also it’s challenging and fun to play alongside Melissa. I’ve always loved performing and, for me, this album reflects both my musical and personal worlds. I always imagine and see music as pictures, so perhaps others might also get into some deeper thoughts – about themselves, about the world they live in – as they listen.”
1. Hybrid 05:06
2. Where Are You Coming From And Where Are You Going 08:42
3. Sequence II 06:53
4. Hempburger 06:09
5. Lonely Woman 07:35
6. Plan B 04:49
7. Family 06:37
8. False Accusations 06:23
9. Sequence III 06:23
10. Spinning Thoughts 08:19
Jure Pukl - soprano & tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Matija Dedic - piano
Matt Brewer - double bass
Johnathan Blake - drums
Melissa Aldana - tenor saxophone (tracks 2 & 7)