Misha Alperin

North Story

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Pianist Misha Alperin appears with a quintet on this set of mysterious original compositions. His longtime colleague, Arkady Shilkloper, plays French horn and flugelhorn and is joined by Tore Brunberg on tenor saxophone, Terje Gewelt on double bass, and ECM stalwart Jon Christensen on drums. Combining Russian folk, modern classical, and free jazz influences, Alperin's music ranges from the icy minimalism of "Morning" and "Alone" to the atonal fanfares of "Afternoon," the eerie unison melodies of "Psalm No. 1" and "Psalm No. 2," and the jumpy parallel-fifth motives of "Ironical Evening." Most memorable is the exquisite "North Story," a sparse invention framed by a descending pattern of seven gorgeous chords. In contrast, "Etude," one of the disc's more upbeat and exuberant pieces, is based on darting, tightly executed 16th-note patterns. The program ends with the sole non-original, Harald Saeverud's "Kristi-Blodsdraper (Fucsia)," a beautiful folkish ballad.

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