Trio & Sainkho

Forgotten Streets of St. Petersburg

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Forgotten Streets of St. Petersburg came out in 2005 as a celebration of TriO's 20th anniversary, but the music was actually recorded in late 1998. Tuvan singer Sainkho Namtchylak had collaborated with this horn trio back in the late '80s (their work together and apart is documented on the box set Golden Years of the Soviet New Jazz, Vol. 3). This performance thus marked a reunion of sorts. There is only one recording date given, but the album seems to be pieced together from various performances: acoustics change drastically from one short track to the next, and so do the sound quality and the tape hiss levels. Some pieces, which seem to have been recorded in a church, have terrible sound, despite the obvious quality of the music -- they even begin and end with the distinct sounds of someone manning the tape recorder. Therefore, this album is clearly for the fans. That being said, there is some thrilling music to be heard. With her voice, Sainkho can match any of TriO's many horns. They interact on a deeply moving level, especially when playing dirges like the title track. TriO also get a few jazzier tunes and Sainkho throws in a few solo throat singing pieces that make it definitely worthwhile to overlook the audio shortcomings ("Seven Corners, Wind" is stellar). This is a strange release coming from Leo, a label usually paying a lot of attention to sound quality. With its abrupt (accidental?) tape edits, Forgotten Streets of St. Petersburg sounds more like a collection of archival recordings (or even bootlegs) from the early '80s than something recorded in 1998.

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