Ernie Krivda's second of three albums for the Inner City label marks him as a progressive, quite creative artist in modern jazz. He connected with this fabulous band, slightly modified from his first record, Satanic, retaining Gil Goldstein who plays acoustic piano, drummer Bob Moses, percussionist Ray Mantilla who plays more than just conga drums, and swapping Jeff Berlin for acoustic bassist Eddie Gomez. These six originals by Krivda tap into his Hungarian heritage, his love for classic and genre-stretching tenor players, and an extemporaneous style that he was just scratching the surface of. An Afro-Cuban 6/8 beat identifies "Nocturnal Carnival" as Krivda plays flute and utilizes a softer focus that builds into a fiery discourse with Goldstein's dynamic piano. The appropriately titled "Valse Macabre" is another piece featuring flute, skittering around highly dramatic bass and piano lines. When Krivda's tenor voice comes most into play during the churning, heavy-handed percussive dance "Husar," you hear his emerging, inexhaustive, treatise-like sound that never runs out of ideas, and modifies stretched-out quarter, eighth, and sixteenth note phrases that suggest his Slavic heritage in upper and mid-level dynamics. "Tzigine" refers to another influence, that of John Coltrane, as a free-flowing, louder intro launches into a modal hard bop framework with Eastern Blok tinges. Krivda also plays soprano sax during the beautifully evocative and sad ballad "Tears on a Golden Arm," where the solid bass of Gomez inspires an overall Mediterranean feel. The title track is a short sound sculpture with looping didgeridoo-type bass buoying a widening and wafting soprano sax. If indeed an alchemist can turn lead into gold, Krivda also succeeds by taking basic precepts from different traditions and conjuring up a new style of jazz that only he can claim.
The Alchemist Review
by Michael G. Nastos