Matija Dedic is a 38-year-old Croatian piano virtuoso who has played around the world with leading Jazz performers, including a number of well-known Americans, and won numerous awards world-wide. Bassist Archer and drummer Scott both boast extensive, impressive credentials. The modern mainstream MD in NYC
is Dedic's second album and the first with these two fine sidemen.
To be sure, Dedic displays a mastery of his instrument. His elegant touch produces a beautiful sound and his fabulous technique permits him to execute phenomenal phrases. But more than that, he brings something out of the ordinary to the venerable piano trio. He uses a synthesizer to provide programmatic ambiance or background accompaniment to his acoustic (and occasionally electric) piano performances. The ensemble's rendering of Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage," for example, is enhanced by quiet, ethereal synth sounds in the background, while the synthesizer mimics a fired-up soprano saxophone in introducing Dedic's "Jungle Blues." Using it on his jaunty "Cheekee Chicks," the leader generates a "rock guitar" solo to follow his earlier acoustic and electric piano choruses. And it provides a lovely string orchestra setting for "Blue in Green."
But even without the unusual instrumentation, this disc would be worthwhile for the top-notch playing by all parties. At one point in "Maiden Voyage," Dedic improvises separate but complementary melodies in his two hands. And in "Jungle Blues" he bangs out an incendiary two-fisted passage. "Blue in Green," Sting's "Fragile," and Dedic's "Her Name" are especially noteworthy for the pianist's warm sound and inventive melodicism.