Miroslav Vitous (3 stars)


Universal Syncopations II (ECM Records)


Miroslav Vitous’ Universal Syncopations marked his return to the ECM label, and was widely praised on its release in 2003. The bassist has chosen to extend and develop the concept behind the music for this successor, introducing a completely different band and a diverse application of orchestral and choral samples that give the music a layered richness of sound, colour and instrumental texture.

The leader’s own supple and inventive bass playing underpins the action, but there is always something arresting going on elsewhere in the soundscape. Contributors include trumpeter Randy Brecker and saxophonists Bob Mintzer and Bob Malach, but the focus of the music is very much on ensemble interaction rather than individual virtuosity. The interjections from the orchestral and choral samples include an initially disconcerting episode in the opening track, ‘Opera’, when Brecker’s solo is accompanied by unexpected laughter.

(Kenny Mathieson)

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