Plamen Karadonev

Crossing Lines | Mu
By JON GARELICK  |  March 18, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
This debut CD from young Bulgarian-born pianist Karadonev (now living in Boston) recommends itself despite occasionally wayward electronics and a singer whose accent distracts you from the English lyrics. But the accent isn’t enough to derail the Michel Legrand standard “You Must Believe in Spring,” because Karadonev and his band take it on such a probing, harmonically reconceived journey between verses. Besides, Elena Koleva’s voice has the right emotional heft and control, and that makes her perfect for the wordless line she sings in unison with George Garzone’s tenor sax on the Karadonev original “Sianic.” Otherwise, the “lines” crossed here include the standards and originals, jazz and classical (a ripping, up-tempo, full-band arrangement by Karadonev of Schumann’s “Fröhlicher Landmann”), Bulgarian and Brazilian (Ivan Lins’s “The Island”). And the band sound great together. You can forgive the oddness of Berklee trombone sage Hal Crook’s synthy “trom-o-tizer,” which allows him to double his lines, because he actually broadens the tune with it, and Garzone — known for brawn — is also as delicate and detailed as Stan Getz. Karadonev, meanwhile, personalizes everything he plays, whether it’s his rubato treatment of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” or his own folk-into-jazz dulcimer-like shadings — and necessary accent — on “Rondo ala Bulgar.”
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Hal Crook, George Garzone, Cole Porter,  More more >
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