With the possible exception of
female jazz vocalists, the incredible proliferation of the piano trio in modern jazz is almost at epidemic proportions, and
represents the proverbial double-edged sword. On one hand it is a format that allows a great deal of personal expression,
with a harmonic richness that is difficult to match; on the other, there are so many young pianists out there that it becomes
a challenge to ascertain who really stands out; who is really saying something personal, something different. Fortunately
there is Yan Pevzner who, with his début release State of Mind, shows the piano trio alive, well and moving forward.
New York-based Pevzner has a composite style that,
aside from the obvious influences like Evans and Corea owes something to more obscure pianists including American Richie Beirach
and New Zealander Mike Nock; the American influences are somewhat subsumed in something a little more impressionistic, a little
more abstract. Still, in a program of thirteen original compositions, Pevzner demonstrates the ability to play with a style
that is strong on melody and rich in texture. Like Swede Esbjorn Svensson and Norwegian Tord Gustavsen, Pevzner always puts
the melody first; creating memorable tunes that stay in the mind long after the disk has finished.
Pevzner’s trio is all about delicacy and interaction, even
when the tune calls for a more assertive approach. Drummer Tony Moreno has a light touch and big ears; his interplay with
Pevzner on “Eugenia,” as they build from playful to intense is but one of numerous spots on the album where real
magic occurs. Bassist Martin Wind has a resonant sound that is reminiscent of Norwegian Arild Andersen, with a similar capability
to be felt as much as heard.
What seems to be a growing trend with modern piano trios is a certain pop sensibility, an economic style that creates solos
deep in meaning, even when short in length. There are no wasted notes here; even when Pevzner kicks things up a notch, as
he does on the rapidly-swinging “Vadim,” there is a sense of preordination. As much as he submits to inspiration,
there is the feeling that he visualizes his solos as stories, with clear arcs, clear beginnings, middles and endings.
Pevzner and the trio explore a multitude
of feels on State of Mind, but never stray from the basic concepts of lyricism, impressionism and interaction, all within
a concise structural framework. This is an auspicious recording from a young pianist who, with sympathetic partners in Wind
and Moreno, creates a sound that breathes, and a sound that whispers more than it roars; as subtle and understated as the
trio often is, they have a clear presence that is felt throughout.
by: John Kelman , JazzReview.com
Voici le dernier album d'un pianiste né en 1974 et vivant aux Etats-Unis. Même si Yan Pevzner est encore
assez peu connu, ce superbe opus devrait lui ouvrir les portes d'une notoriété bien méritée.
Ce jeune pianiste trentenaire a étudié la musique à l'université de New-York, mais également
au Conservatoire d'Aubervilliers en France. Or, on peut dire que l'on retrouve une part d'influence européenne
dans son style.
Notons tout d'abord que tous les morceaux de ce CD sont des compositions originales, et certaines d'entre-elles valent
vraiment le détour. On peut dire que l'album oscille entre de superbes ballades et des morceaux beaucoup plus rythmés.
Pour ce qui est des ballades, on peut se référer à la pièce intitulée "Achnowledge".
C'est un morceau magnifique, tout en finesse, alternant des passages qui s'étirent à l'infini et
des relances rythmiques bien senties. En plus, les solos sont magnifiques.
Pour ce qui est des morceaux plus enlevés, "Vadium"
est un modèle du genre. Lors du thème, la contrebasse répond au piano, le tout accompagné d'un
chabada parfait. Ce
qui m'a le plus choqué sur cet album, notamment sur des morceaux tels que "Vadim" ou "On the road",
c'est le parallèle que l'on peut faire entre Pevzner et Laurent de Wilde. Laurent De Wilde est un jeune pianiste
français, avec un style assez similaire à Pevzner, tout particulièrement si l'on considère
Un mot sur le reste du trio de Pevzner. Le contrebassiste est Martin Wind. Son jeu se marie parfaitement à celui du pianiste. Il prend pratiquement
un solo sur chaque morceau, à chaque fois avec une finesse indiscutable. Le batteur se nomme Tony Moreno. Les amateurs
du genre vont se régaler avec son jeu de cymbales absolument incroyable. Le travail effectué à ce niveau
est tout simplement stupéfiant. Une vraie belle découverte. On peut seulement regretter qu'il n'improvise
pas plus souvent.
Pour conclure, je conseille fortement cet
album à tous les amoureux du trio. L'ensemble est impeccable et proposant une musique assez jeune. Bonne écoute
à tous !
Review by: Patrick Haond ,
Few musicians combine –
and fewer do so successfully – the free spirit and openness of jazz with the precision and discipline of classical music.
Many of these musicians are pianists. This is not an accidental fact. Rather, it occurs because the piano
is an instrument directly related to classical music and because most pianists start with classical studies and are always
attracted to and inspired by the great composers.
Yan Pevzner, a classically educated young pianist with considerable teaching and performing experience is one such musicians
who ventures into the fusion of jazz and classical music quite successfully in his debut CD, “State of Mind”.
“State of Mind” is a collection of 13 original tunes that unveils Pevzner’s prolific compositional gift.
Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett are two of his profound influences, but the melancholy emitted by his keyboard is suggestive
of Central Europe. The album is ruled by strong melodies, lyricism, and deep impressionistic colors painted by this
pianist’s gentle fingering in direct response to the trio’s other two parts: bassist Martin Wind and drummer Tony
Moreno, the latter of them being one of Pevzner’s teacher’s. The overall impression that “State of
Mind” creates is that it is an outstanding album recommended not only to piano lovers, but to all jazz fans.
Review by : Vangelis Aragiannis "Ipirotikos Agon" Ioannina, Greece
Born in Russia, and for several years a resident of
New York City, pianist-composer Yan Pevzner is a highly educated artist and teacher who launched his recording career with
his 2003 solo debut State of Mind. He's performed with a who's-who of jazz artists, as well as large orchestra
gigs with Hollywood film scoring legend Patrick Williams. On his superb 2008 outing, Forward Motion, Pevzner attains
a fruitful medium by producing top-flight compositions that are designed with a sense of controlled vibrancy and fluent trajectories.
Pevzner employs a strong band, featuring a wonderful
foil in Sam Newsome's breezy soprano sax phrasings over the top. A good portion of these works offer split-second shifts
in momentum amid odd-metered unison charts. But the pianist doesn't get mired in a consortium of technicalities and dissonant
harmonic gyrations, which seem to be attributes of some young and well-schooled jazz artists. On the flip side, Pevzner fuses
memorable melodies with resplendent soloing jaunts, while purveying an open-air sound.
On "The Curtain Is Down," Pevzner leads the charge via a rapidly-paced swing
vamp, where he injects bluesy trills and lower register block chords into the mix, countered by drummer Tony Moreno's
sweeping tom rolls. During the high-impact movements, the pianist sprinkles radiant harmonic chord clusters and brisk single-note
leads within various passages, as he trades buoyant fours with Newsome. Moreover, bassist Martin Wind lays out a pliant bottom-end,
here and throughout.
titled "Watching Me Leave" is a gentle ballad that casts notions of optimism, and elicits imagery of perhaps overcoming
a traumatic event. Yet matters heat up during the bridge, which is a pattern that follows suit with the razor-sharp swing
groove heard on the following piece, "Quiet Force."
Pevzner doesn't necessarily outline a new direction in modern jazz. Essentially, he transmits a broad and rather cunning
musical vista that seemingly incorporates the best of numerous jazz-based components. More importantly, he bridges the gap
between the cerebral spectrum while spawning a highly listenable and quite endearing program that intimates alluring characteristics.
Glenn Astarita, AllAboutJazz.com