The young double bass player has the finest musical genes – his father the late Italian conductor Claudio Abbado; his mother the Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova – and he brings them to bear on an album which sometimes momentarily wrong-foots the listener with its eclecticism.
This debut album opens with birdsong and a lyrical, Latin-tinged Circle Song giving ample room to his own soloing and introducing his band of Matthew Herd on alto saxophone, Tom Green on trombone, Jacob Collier on piano and Scott Chapman on drums. And just as we think we have the measure of this laid-back World jazz style, next up comes Lock, Stock & Shuffle, a straight down the line hard-bop swinger. It’s great to hear YouTube split-screen multi-tasker Collier distilling his singular skills into a rollicking acoustic piano solo.
The trumpet-expanded horn lines on Real Eyes Realise Real Lies (he has a penchant for wordplay in titles – another is the palendromic Satan, Oscillate My Metallic Sonatas) are simply exquisite, the mood returning to the pastoral, folk-tinged one of the initial track. The title track is funkier and more electric, while Mullov-Abbado plays French horn as well as bass and is joined by his mother as well as Matthew Barley on cello for the moving Heal Me On This Cloudy Day, which he wrote for his father’s funeral.
The only non-Mullov-Abbado track is a very clever rearrangement of Earth, Wind & Fire’s September.
In the liner notes Misha writes: “Since before I was born I have been surrounded by an immense volume of music. I would practically not exist without it. Whether Bach, Byrd, Brahms or Basie, Igor Stravinsky or Stevie Wonder the influence of the music that I am playing or listening to gives me such joy when I’m writing my own pieces.”
A gorgeous album which has been filling the Bacon household with that same joy on repeat play for a good few weeks now.
Categories: CD review