Lucian Ban / Elevation - Songs from Afar

2016 CD release

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Streams of influence from the past and cultural identities sometimes merge with one’s quest for forms of expression. "Songs From Afar is very personal for me because the album is intimately tied to my Romanian cultural heritage and to the jazz influences that help me find out more about where I come from – and where I’m going. It's not only the ancient Transylvanian folk songs that we approach in this recording, it's also how the other pieces and improvisations reflect the constant search for musical meaning," notes Transylvanian expat pianist and composer Lucian Ban talking about his second album with Elevation quartet (and his third album on Sunnyside).

Featuring saxophonist Abraham Burton, bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson with special guest violist Mat Maneri, Songs From Afar incorporates their extensive knowledge of modern jazz and creative music with the astonishing voice of Transylvanian folk singer Gavril Tarmure to create a program of music with a unique identity that spans continents and styles.

"Long the night and I’m awake/ What may happen to poor sleep/ If I lay down sleep on sleep/And one night sleep all of it" are the lyrics of an ancient folk song passionately sung by Gavril Tarmure in the opening number - the beauty of this rare and timeless song that has been passed on for generations comes to life in Lucian Ban's arrangement of “Transylvanian Sorrow Song” where the singer is accompanied by the ardent commentary of Burton's saxophone and the band's spiritual modal jazz, setting the mood for the entire album.

Since moving from Romania to New York in 1999, pianist Lucian Ban has "ricocheted among orthodox postbop, free jazz, and inspired hybrids—including his inventive arrangements of the music of Romanian composer George Enesco" on his all star octet album Enesco Re-imagined (Sunnyside, 2009) co-led with bassist John Hébert. In 2013 Ban’s quartet Elevation released their first album, the "blustery Mystery (Sunnyside), where the searing, post-Coltrane blowing of tenor saxophonist Abraham Burton and the charged rhythms of drummer Eric McPherson and bassist John Hebert cut against the pianist’s controlled, abstruse austerity". Ban also has a duo with American violist Mat Maneri, Transylvanian Concert (ECM, 2013) where "Ban’s playing feels moodier and more brooding against the mahogany grain of Maneri’s microtonal viola". (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader).


SKU 016728138727
Barcode # 016728138727
Brand Sunnyside Records

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