Saturday, May 24, 2014

Adam Baldych & Yaron Herman – The New Tradition (2014)

Adam Baldych - violin
Yaron Herman - piano

ACT 9626









By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Polish / Israeli duo comprising of violinist Adam Baldych and pianist Yaron Herman. The album presents nine tracks, five of which were composed by Baldych, two are Classical pieces and the remaining two are Polish Jazz standards. Baldych arranged all the music, except for the closing piece which was co-arranged by him and Herman.

It is pretty clear from the very onset of the album that this music is only marginally Jazzy and the intention is to take a few steps back and examine the sources of contemporary music, regardless of their stylistic origins. Both players follow a rather minor and minimalistic approach, stating the melodies and improvising delicately and non-aggressively. One can interpret the album's title in many ways of course; personally I believe that music fuses all its elements developed over time in a continuous process, and therefore "The New Tradition" is simply an amalgam of all the traditions that existed beforehand, as this music clearly demonstrates to be possible. Tradition simply re-invents itself inside every Artist anew.

Since all the original music on this album was composed by Baldych, he points out the musical direction of this album and therefore the tradition in this case involves his sources: European Classical music, Polish Folklore and of course Polish Jazz. Baldych pays tribute to the Godfather of Polish Jazz, Krzysztof Komeda as well as the great Polish Jazz violinist Zbigniew Seifert. Thanks to the great musicality of Herman, he plays along splendidly, not only on the obvious sonic level, but way beyond proving to be a "twin spirit" in every way.

Of course we have two great virtuosi players here, so the individual performances are also important, but the musicians clearly try to avoid flashy exhibitionism, sticking to the "less is more" approach at all times. This is no doubt "pretty" music, but it manages not to cross over to the kitschy domain, which always looms in the background of all Jazz-Classical Fusion projects. As usual it is all a matter of personal integrity of the musicians involved.

This album should be easily accessible to quite a wide audience, as most Classical music lovers should find it appealing no less than the Jazz buffs. In any case this is music for connoisseurs and those few, who still listen to music seriously and passionately. Our Culture might be in a retreat, but as long as we have people like Adam & Yaron making music, not all is lost.

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