Thursday, April 7, 2011

Matija Dedic: MD in NYC

Origin Arts
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: MD in NYC

This album demonstrates anew that jazz truly is an international art. Matija Dedic, born in Croatia in 1973, began to play classical piano at age 5: a common path for Eastern European music students. He had broadened his interests by his 18th birthday, and he subsequently entered the Graz Jazz Academy. After graduation, he delivered his style of jazz while touring throughout Europe, Scandinavia, South America and the United States. He has worked with his own groups and many others, writes music for TV and theater, and often plays with touring pop stars.

MD in NYC was recorded during a 2009 stay in the Big Apple. Dedic's basic trio — in which he plays both piano and Fender Rhodes — includes bassist Vincent Archer and drummer Kendrick Scott. That core group is backed on several tracks by an unidentified string section.

Dedic wrote six of the 10 compositions; the rest are covers of tunes from Herbie Hancock ("Maiden Voyage"), Miles Davis ("Blue in Green"), Sting ("Fragile") and Toby Gad ("If I Were a Boy"). All are done at near balladic, but softly swinging tempos.

You can always tell when a pianist has had classical training. Jazz artists often are essentially one-handed; the right hand establishes the melodic line and is the "innovator" ... which is to say, the hand that produces the solo lines that the mind creates. The left hand plays a "supporting" role, maintaining the chord structure and providing emphasis where appropriate.

That isn’t the case with Dedic. Both hands are intensely involved at all times; sometimes you'd swear that two solo lines are occurring simultaneously. Additionally, one is "forced" (in a very positive way!) to listen intently to this album, to catch everything; as a result, the tunes seem to just fly past. A 5-minute track is over before you want it to end.

And that's the case with every track on this album. It’s beautiful, pensive, attention-getting and memorable jazz. Dedic is a talent to be reckoned with!

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