Iordache

Friday

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Jazz missionaries, some on a time warp, search for a reincarnation of the classic Blue Note sound in this era and will continue to do so in the future. What is desired is a clear sense of instrumental sound and space, as if a brain transplant of sorts had taken place, nerve centers now operating in direct conjunction with non-physical phenomena such as ride cymbals and groovy basslines. This type of jazz surely is amongst the genre's most enjoyable creative eras. Some may think the style is a matter of time and place, yet musicians prove time and time again that jazz from any era or any place can be created in just about any other time and place. Aesthetically the music on this CD could have come from New Jersey in 1966, perhaps even earlier, but in reality the recording is Romanian, circa the spring of 2003. Iordache is saxophonist and bandleader Mihai Iordache, having dropped his first name, joined here by several regular collaborators, one an American. The weirdo inundated with trivia will want to love Friday right away, just for its title. There have been several other albums named after this ever-popular day of the week, but the fact that one of them is by British horror and dinosaur queen Samantha Eggar should be enough to declare winner status.

It is the leader's union with trombonist Tom Smith and superb guitarist Sorin Romanescu that account for the excitement of this disc, the concept of course being that following a smooth ensemble presentation of a theme, each of these lead instruments will solo at length and with the express purpose of conquering the world. "Next Gig" ought to be everyone's gig tonight, flying by at a brisk tempo that the aforementioned soloists confront with a simultaneously relaxed and appreciative composure. Saxophone, trombone, and guitar combine beautifully, providing great contrast through the series of solo statements as well as many possibilities in ensemble arrangement. "Fiare Vechi Luam" expands this beyond the obvious, matching an old-timey trombone mute effect with rocking electric guitar, but even when the blend has a typically mainstream jazz sound, the listening is a sheer pleasure. The latter track is also one of the places where Vlaicu Golcea grabs a moment of solo introspection, his eloquence is no surprise to anyone closely following the ensemble passages. He works very well with drummer Vadim Tichisan, part of their mission being to provide sensible accompaniment, linked in compositional spirit, to the changing demands of the soloists. The guitarist alone comes up with one tone that sounds like the strangling of cartoon mosquitos, another soaring and majestic, not to mention a Grant Green approach. Friday's program presents a nice mix of funk and other feels.