Russian born jazz pianist and consummate improviser, Simon Nabatov is steadily building his already impressive resume, via some fine and undeniably distinct recordings for European labels such as Leo Records. He combines the freedom of thought, akin to Cecil Taylor with a delicate means of spinning a melody, sometimes sparking notions of Bill Evans. Each Nabatov recording looms as a distinct entity. Along with cellist Ernst Reijseger and drummer Michael Vatcher, the pianist fuses various genres - in a subtle way - into personalized statements, on this superb release.
The trio generally builds a theme from the ground up here. They toggle between a chamber-type, sense of minimalism while affording themselves ample improvising opportunities. At times, Reijseger scrapes strings and contrasts Nabatov’s trickling notes, amid airy dialogues, where quietude comes into play. On "Autumn Music Part II," the musicians extract notions of a nocturnal setting via somber chord voicings and classical overtones. Whereas Nabatov eventually develops a pop-style melody atop Vatcher’s straight-four pulse. In addition, Nabatov and Reijseger pick up the intensity level with counterbalancing lines. But part of the fun equates to the trio’s ability to delve into various grooves and rhythms, where tense frameworks transparently coexist with peaceful surroundings. Nabatov is also apt to meld fiery single note, right-hand leads with movements that could be analogous to a Schubert scored piano recital. Either way, here’s a top 10 pick for 2004 that should not go unnoticed! (Zealously recommended.... )