MIROSLAV VITOUS — Universal Syncopations

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MIROSLAV VITOUS - Universal Syncopations cover
4.50 | 4 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2003

Filed under Post Bop
By MIROSLAV VITOUS

Tracklist

1. Bamboo Forest (4:37)
2. Univoyage (10:54)
3. Tramp Blues (5:19)
4. Faith Run (4:58)
5. Sun Flower (7:21)
6. Miro Bop (4:03)
7. Beethoven (7:18)
8. Medium (5:09)
9. Brazil Waves (4:26)

Total Time: 54:08

Line-up/Musicians

Miroslav Vitous (Double Bass)
Jan Garbarek (Soprano and Tenor Saxophone)
Chick Corea (Piano)
John McLaughlin (Guitar)
Jack DeJohnette (Drums)
Wayne Bergeron (Trumpet) - 2,4
Valerie Ponomarev (Trumpet, Flugelhorn) - 2,4
Isaac Smith (Trombone) - 2,4

About this release

ECM Records ‎– ECM 1863 (Germany)

Recorded at Universal Syncopations and Rainbow Studios, Oslo

Thanks to snobb for the updates

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MIROSLAV VITOUS UNIVERSAL SYNCOPATIONS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Steve Wyzard
NOT WHAT YOU WANTED

Let me begin by saying this is a very good album and worthy addition to your Miroslav Vitous collection. That being said, it also needs to immediately follow that this is NOT an early-1970s throwback album. Fusion fans must have foamed at the mouth when this was originally released and they scanned the line-up of musicians. So what do we actually have here?

Only 2 of the 5 names appearing on the front cover play on all 9 tracks: Miroslav Vitous (bass), and Jack DeJohnette (drums). Both of their performances throughout are outstanding, with "Medium" being a viciously driving duet. John McLaughlin, in only his second appearance on the ECM label, appears on only 2 tracks: "Univoyage" and "Faith Run". His understated contribution to the latter is much more substantial than that on the former, and on both songs, he only plays acoustic guitar. Chick Corea (piano) performs on 3 tracks: "Univoyage", "Sun Flower", and "Miro Bop". Jan Garbarek (tenor sax) plays on 7 of the 9 tracks (with 2 co-composing credits), making this album much closer to a trio album with special guests than a quintet album. "Bamboo Forest", "Beethoven", and "Brazil Waves" feature only the trio. The 5 players, in fact, only appear together on "Univoyage".

The most controversial aspect of this album is the inclusion of a brass trio (trumpet/flugelhorn/trombone) on "Univoyage", "Tramp Blues", and "Faith Run". This ensemble adds light background touches and sound effects here and there, and a punctuation phrase every now and then. These contributions don't ruin the album or overly clutter the sound, but one wonders why they are there at all.

So if you were looking for a 21st Century Mahavishnu, composed and recorded 30 years after their glory days, you've come to the wrong place. Universal Syncopations is one of those albums that will always live in the shadow of what it could have been, and what listeners may have been expecting from these players. Which is a shame, because it's still a very good Miroslav Vitous album, in spite of who is and isn't playing.

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