Fairy Tale Trio
Jazz Across The Border
Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt/Wergo
The Fairy Tale Trio plays a kind of hybrid music combining elements of Bulgarian folk music and jazz. Kaval player Theodosii Spassov has developed a style that allows him more chromatic and timbral possibilities than previously associated with that instrument, while soprano saxist Anatoly Vapirov can go from tricky folk melodies to Coltrane-like wailing in the space of a few notes. The trio is rounded out by percussionist Stoyan Yankoulov, who uses mostly the traditional tupan (a double-headed drum, played with sticks) with a few modern additions.
The music, composed by the trio, makes full use of their resources. There are a few odd-meter rave-ups, but there are also some quieter, textural pieces. The kaval and soprano sax take turns soloing and supporting each other, while the percussion supplies a sturdy rhythmic framework. There are also a few solos and duets that, along with great attention paid to dynamics, help keep the sound varied and interesting. In its more peaceful moments this reminds me a little of Codona, the old Don Cherry-Collin Walcott project. Then the musicians turn up the heat and could be mistaken for an Art Ensemble of Chicago offshoot. But the approach taken here is a melding rather than a juxtaposition, with the jazz elements logically flowing from the Bulgarian roots, and as such is one of the more successful folk-jazz fusions I've heard in some time. - Joe Grossman
(The band's e-mail: email@example.com)
Sound file is from the album, and is used by permission.