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A key advantage of playing complex instrumental music in a trio or quartet is the luxury of having one player free to keep the ball of melody in play while granting the other instrumentalists the freedom to harmonize, play counterpoint or just cut loose. This was the case for Dusan Jevtovic and Xavi Reija, when, along with bassist Bernat Hernandez and under Xavi’s name, they recorded 2014’s MoonJune release Resolution. Prior to that, though with Marko Djordjevic drumming, Dusan offered up 2013’s Am I Walking Wrong. Both of these trio releases pointed the way to a style of composition emphasizing melodic interplay and rhythmic complexity while not sacrificing the improvisatory nature that makes the music such a thrilling listen.

In choosing to work as a two-man configuration called XaDu, Xavi and Dusan establish each composition with its intrinsic melodic and rhythmic components, then allow it to partially deconstruct as they
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XADU Xavi Reija / Dusan Jevtovic : Random Abstract album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
Xavi Reija / Dusan Jevtovic : Random Abstract
Eclectic Fusion 2015

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XADU Xavi Reija / Dusan Jevtovic : Random Abstract

Album · 2015 · Eclectic Fusion
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Xadu is a modern jazz/rock duo made up of drummer Xavi Reija and guitarist Dusan Jevtovic. Although “Random Abstract” is their first album under this new moniker, this is the second album they have recorded together, as Dusan played guitar on Xavi Reija’s “Resolution”, which was released just last year. The only difference between the groups that perform on both albums is that Reija’s album featured Bernat Hernandez on bass, while “Random Abstract” has no bass player, and that lack of a third band member does make a difference.

Dusan is an interesting guitarist, although he started out as a more typical fleet fingered fusion guitarist, his solo album, “Am I Walking Wrong”, found him working more with distorted sounds and heavy sonic noise textures. On “Random Abstract”, he seems to mix these two worlds, still relying on a lot of distorted sounds, but also working in more of his earlier fusion style too. The balance of these two styles has resulted in a more interesting and musical approach for Dusan than on his previous solo album. This mix of noise and jazz-rock chops may remind some of Sonny Sharrock‘s work in the 80s and 90s. Xavi Reija provides his usual virtuoso drumming that combines fusion, free jazz and heavy rock. The two sound great together, but that third voice is missed sometimes.

Most of the tracks on this CD are good, with the best material coming in the middle of the album where back to back tracks, “New Pop” and “Something In Between”, feature the best solos and energetic duo interplay on the album. The weakest tracks happen on the second and third cuts where the duo makes the mistake of using some sort of looping device to provide something like a repeating bass line. As either song wears on, the automatic repeating lines become more of a nuisance than anything else. The duo format may sound a bit thin at times, but adding a dull repeating voice doesn’t help.

There is a lot of potential here, and there are moments on “Random Abstract” where that potential is reached, but its possible there is a better album still to come from these two. Much of this CD comes across as a recorded jam session, which isn’t bad, but more developed material would probably serve these guys well, as well as someone on bass.

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