NIKOLOV-IVANOVIĆ UNDECTET — Frame and Curiosity (feat. Magic Malik) (review)

NIKOLOV-IVANOVIĆ UNDECTET — Frame and Curiosity (feat. Magic Malik) album cover Album · 2019 · Progressive Big Band Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
js
“Frame and Curiosity” is the second album by the Nikolov-Ivanovic Undectet, and it finds them following a similar formula as their first one, modern big band arrangements guided by Balkan rhythms and melodies, although to many, the Balkan influences might not seem so obvious at first. Vladimir Nikolov handles the arrangements and piano, while Srdjan Ivanovic guides the band from the drum set. The two also wrote all of the original material. The group is fleshed out with a wide array of instruments including three saxophones, a horn quartet and accordion, plus special guest Magic Malik on flute. Magic makes for an excellent addition as he provides some of the most creative solos and adds a bright sound color to the arrangements. Although some jazz flautists can sound a bit shrill at times, Malik gets a strong deep sound from his flute that can hold its own against busy horn charts.

The three tracks that open the album are possibly the strongest, and although the press kit review from Jazz Times sites Gil Evans and Maria Schneider, I’m hearing a lot of classic Don Ellis. The odd-metered East European rhythms topped with complex and busy horn workouts recall Don’s ground breaking concert and recording at Monterrey. Maybe no one remembers Ellis anymore … sad. The rest of the album features some impressionistic ballads, a rock influenced track called “Anonymous”, a slight Latin flavor on “Carefree” and one more ambitious big band excursion titled “Sade Sati”. Jazz’s dance floor era passed long ago, but big bands are back more than ever as creative arrangers seek new sounds and tone colors. Fans of the modern big band sound should find much to like on “Frame and Curiosity”.
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