ROBERT BALZAR TRIO
Robert Balzar bass
Stanislav Macha piano
Marek Patrman drums
Thanks to Isidor
Thanks to Isidor
For Your Sound
Total Time 48.54
Er gehört zweifelsohne zu den versiertesten jungen Bassisten der
tschechischen Republik. Seit langem ist der vierunddreißigjährige
Instrumentalist die erste Wahl für führende tschechische Jazzmusiker und
auch "Westler" wie Benny Bailey, Joe Newman oder David Friedman wußten
sein Talent wiederholt zu schätzen.
Als im Januar 1994 Bill Clinton im Reduta-Jazzclub sein ihm von Vaclav
Havel geschenktes Tenorsax blies, war Robert Balzar "ebenso wie Pianist
Stanislav Macha" ein Mitglied des Begleitquartetts. Nach zahllosen
Tourneen und Festivalauftritten durch und in Europa und den USA legt
Robert Balzar nun mit Pianist Stanislav Macha und Schlagzeuger Marek
Patrman die erste CD unter eigenem Namen vor. Ein kompaktes und
gehaltvolles Spiel zeichnet das Trio aus. Der Leader überzeugt zudem als
versierter Komponist, verarbeitet Tradition und Erfahrungen zu einer
ansprechenden Variante im Genre des klassischen Trio-Jazz. Mainstream,
Modern und lyrische Momente finden in einer intensiven Verschmelzung zu
einem qualitativ hochangesiedelten musikalischen Resultat.
Thomas Tang, Jazzpodium 2/1999
Bassist Robert Balzar is the first call bassist for foreigners visiting
the Czech Republic. The list of those he's accompanied is long and
impressive and includes most notoriously "The Press" - Bill Clinton.
On Travelling, Balzar emphasizes his own composition, as much as his
bass playing. The opener, "The Patriot", sounds like a reworking of a
Broadway tune. Elsewhere he touches on straight ahead bop - "Isidor" and
"Wintertime" and "Willy Nilly" - contrasting shades of blues. "For Your
Sound"is an out-of-tempo "Travelling", "B.E." - all owe an obvious debt
to the compositions noteworthy, and fertile ground for improvisation.
The trio uses the Evans ensemble as a model, appropriate for a group led
by a bass player. Though never as complex as Scott LaFaro's work with
Evans. Balzar does emphasize melodic counterpoint, often in the lower
register. His solos, which emphasize melody over flash, emerge as
natural outgrowths of his lines in support of pianist Macha. For his
part, Macha's long clean lyrical lines demonstrate an Evans-influence,
though not consumed by it. Drummer Patrmann provides colorful support
without ever being intrusive.
Balzar's group shows evidence of the benefits of a working ensemble. Those who enjoy piano trios should check this out'.
David Dupont, Cadence 9/1998
Robert Balzar may be in the Czech Republic, but his music has traveled
far. This album comes endorse by George Mraz, he’s playe with Joe Newman
and Tony Scott; he and pianist Stanislav Macha even played with Bill
Clinton on his 1994 albumThe Pres Blows. This is his first as a leader,
and it shows beautiful solos and a solid trio. You can go far from your
The Patriot is a bouncy theme, based on Fried Bananas.
Marek Patrman has heavy brushes and uses well the studio echo. Macha
uses chords on the theme and spaces out on the the solom developing
little themes and varying them endlessly as the drums pound harder.
Balzar’s solo states theme and varies as Macha did – only faster! His
style is halfway between modern slide and old-fashioned walkin’, and he
does both here. Wait for Macha’s signoff –it’s lush, and very charming.
Ginetta is a slow ballad with more of thse bright chords. For
thirty seconds it’s piano and bass, and Balzar keeps time with a LaFaro
sound – old and new together. The brushes come in, and the shimmer is
delightful. When Balzar solos it’s piano and bass again: Macha steps
lightly behind Robert’s big sound, all bounce and slide. The tenderness
returns and so do the drums in a very warm finish. It’s a basic ballad,
but the performance isn’t!
Balzar gets the theme to Thanks to Isidor – the fast tempo is no
problem for him. It’s a bop line with progressively deepening blues.
Macha chords sour a while, then gets lush, with the tinest hint of Red
Garland. Balzar is strictly old school, and it works like a charm. When
he goes high, it’s not like a modern bassist, but Oscar Pettiford
playing the cello! Patrman has a cymbal solo – well, that’s what it
sounds like! It’s simple, tough, and bluesy – I like it.
Travelling starts like a Bill Evans waltz: tempo lagging, medi
tation on certain notes. Balzar’s tiny first solo has a debt to LaFaro,
as you’d expect. Then it goes active: Balzar finds a great walking line,
Macha jabbing the keys with a rhythmic feel. The theme returns with
more vigor, and Macha is romantic, dancing gracefully over the splashy
drums. The tough theme comes back while Macha waltzes; it makes
him sound more beautiful. Near the end he blossoms again: McCoy Tyner
for four thrilling bars. Balzar’s second solo, done mostly to the tough
theme, is all string snaps and low rumbles; his first bit was better.
It leads to Patrman’s solo, which includes everything but boredom. Then
the waltz returns, and we have gone a long way.
Wintertime is a stroll in the park; Macha has a old strut while
Balzar walks deep. His solo gets a few slides, but mostly it’s the good
old feel – and it feels right. B.E. is leisurely, introspective,
and dedicated to the possessor of the initials. As Macha hinted at Evans
earlier, the task is a snap for him; there’s also a spot of blue and a
few Garland chords. Balzar’s solo is out of the Trio’s playbook, and
Macha chords nicely behind him.
Willy Nilly starts with great brushes and a unison theme by piano
and bow. Balzar’s tone is mostly classical, with a trace of the Paul
Chambers grainy sound. He has fun with the boppish line, bowing it fast
and drawling a little. He then plucks up a walk for Macha’s gentility.
No contest; this was Robert’s from the beginning. There’s also For Your Sound,
nearly two minutes of unaccompanied Balzar. It’s deep musing, full of
technique and grace. That’s how I describe the album – that and warmth,
variety, and charm.
John Barrett Jr.
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