From the Beginning / Matija Dedić

From the Beginning

Datum objave:
John Thomas
FROM THE BEGINNING - www.matijadedic.
com. CD1: From the Beginning; Mr. Handy; ‘Round
Midnight; W.A.M; Angela; You Are Too Beautiful.
CD2: Prelude to a Kiss; Nardis; Marina's Dilemma;
Lush Life; Bye Bye Blackbird; Dr. A
PERSONNEL: Matija Dedic, piano; Larry Grena-
dier, bass; Jeff Ballard, drums
By John Thomas

36 year-old Matija Dedic is a star in the Eastern
European jazz scene, particularly in his home coun-
try of Croatia, where he has won numerous awards
throughout the past 10 years or so. He was also one of
11 finalists in the 2002 Montreux Jazz Piano Com-
petition. When you hear him play, it is no surprise
why - he's got tons of chops and a very spontane-
ous approach to be as general as I can in this open-
ing paragraph. Dedic is also the son of father Arsen
Dedic, Croatian singer/songwriter and poet, and
mother Gabi Novak, a famous Croatian pop-singer
who even sang with Louis Armstrong.
For From the Beginning, Matija has hired Brad
Mehldau's rhythm section - Larry Grenadier on
bass and Jeff Ballard on drums - also Mark Turner's
rhythm section in the trio group Fly. This is a bold
move on Dedic's part since fans of these two players
are used to hearing them play in groups where the
third person (Mehldau or Turner) has developed an
almost telepathic rapport with them. But Ballard
and Grenadier are such incredible and empathetic
musicians, that they sound as if they've been playing
with Dedic for a long time.
Dedic's phrasing is unpredictable and excit-
ing, and he has a very definite time-feel that is all his
own - a little bit quirky and sometimes frantic, but
in an intentional way. If you are looking for swing
or groove, this might not be your album - although
he can do that too, and we he does, you realize how
versatile of a player he is. Dedic also writes some very
cool and complex arrangements with exciting twists,
turns and breaks. I think if the group had more ex-
perience together, the groove would be much deeper,
but for an initial effort, wow!
Dedic chose a nice mixture of standards to mix
in with some well-crafted and memorable originals.
This includes "Round Midnight," which he gives a
rousing high energy solo interpretation, and "Prelude
to a Kiss," which is given an andante cool swing. Al-
though the head is given a complex arrangement, the
musicians are all in their comfort zones on this stan-
dard and Grenadier and Ballard take some memorable
solos. Other standards include "You Are Too Beauti-
ful," and "Nardis," which is given a straight and funky
drum and bass groove. Dedic makes great use of space
on this tune, keeping the listeners ears wide open and
thirsting for the next phrase. "Lush Life," and "Bye,
Bye Blackbird" are on the second of the two CDs. The
way Grenadier and Dedic simultaneously share the
melody and improvisation on the latter tune is one of
the highlights on the album. The group chemistry is
at its highest on this track. Grenadier has an uncanny
ability to be both supportive and independent at the
same time. Dedic closes out the album with a beauti-
ful ballad of his own entitled Dr. A performed solo
- this one will pull on the heart strings, leaving you in
a somewhat sullen and reflective mood.
Dedic is an exciting and multi-faceted player
who should cross the Atlantic much more often. If
this group was a working band, I believe the results
could be as critically praised as that of the other
groups this rhythm section has been associated with.
(Preuzeto iz magazina Jazz Inside NY, veljača 2010)

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