Mihai Iordache

Dissapatin'

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Romanian saxophonist and bandleader Mihai Iordache has shortened his performing title to simply his surname -- a move that might worry those who fear a Kenny G. influence, although trimming down to just a last name is more like the New Orleans saxophonist and keyboardist Skerik. Either guy would find at least some aspects of Iordache's versatile musical offerings appealing, both would no doubt admire the man's soloing abilities on both alto and baritone saxophone. He presses ahead, his tone solid whether trying to sound ugly or beautiful, set on a successful outcome, self-reliant in this goal due to his own vivid melodic imagination. Some who are familiar with the Eastern bloc lifestyle may think this description makes Iordache sound like a guy standing in a milk line three blocks long; even from this point of view, Dissapatin' surely proves that Romanians can play music just as funky as anyone else.

Funk-jazz and variants thereof do indeed dominate this program of eight pieces, although the most exquisite piece is out of a different sort of style: "Fig Tree," beautifully sung by Marta Hristea, is the type of ditty June Tyson might have sung in the Sun Ra band. Iordache's feel for this material is enormous, approaching heavenly, no doubt because of his own experience playing in, of all things, a Romanian Sun Ra cover band. The CD's title track also has a cosmic jazz feel to it and setting a nice mood. Guitarist Eugen Nutescu -- the subject of envy amongst all fellow free jazz guitarists since he has the word "nut" planted right solidly inside his name -- seems to be play with almost total stylistic abandon, bringing to mind some of the rock-jazz combos fronted by keyboardist Wayne Horvitz. His playing may also evoke the controversial presence of the late Henry Vestine on Albert Ayler records. Drummer Vadim Tichisan also attracts attention, his prompts tending to sound like someone backing a motorcycle into a garage. The recorded sound is cozy although woozy, with slight distortion in the thickest sections of "Gloomy Sunday." Keyboard sounds thicken the textures to various degrees, from superb organ to some dodgy synth sounds.

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