17th November 2016. EFG London Jazz Festival. Review by Peter Slavid
I have to confess that until this gig I knew nothing at all about Moldovan Jazz. However, I was reassured when I got round to checking on Wikipedia to find that it only contains one word – Trigon. But this is a band that has been around for 25 years, produced umpteen CDs, and achieved a lot of success in France, Germany and most of continental Europe, but has disappointingly never before been in the UK.
The melodies were mainly folk tunes – Moldovan, Romanian and Bulgarian certainly, often in complex time signatures, and usually at several different speeds. But the complexity of the time signatures is made to sound totally natural by the ease of the musicians so that it definitely swings even if you can't quite work out how.
Meanwhile there were also the jazz tunes. Birdland, Caravan and others – with definite shades of Weather Report, and yet clearly not American Jazz. And other tunes that lifted influences from all sorts of other places including circus tunes.
Boghean plays some blistering solos on the soprano and then shifts between various folk instruments including several wooden flute/whistles and a large version which I think was a type of Kaval. The stand-out voice is the spectacular viola playing of Stefanet. Whether playing at breakneck speed through the folk tunes or morphing into something close to western swing, or making avant-garde squeaks and noise by scraping the back of his viola, his performance was mesmerising. The beauty of Trigon is that they don't play jazz with a folk influence, or folk music with jazz solos, what they do is an integrated whole with both influences coming together to create a special combination.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening.
“Trigon already has its own special place in the world of jazz at this beginning of the 21st century, fusing in a perfectly magic way the essence of Romanian melos with the freedom of jazz. Since 1993, the group gained recognition and appraisal on the world jazz stage (Europe, Japan, New Zeeland), a success confirmed by albums released in Belgium, France, Germany, Romania, Russia, Moldova.
Four jazzmen together creating sophisticated, kaleidoscopic acoustic structures, impregnated with ideas, offering to the world of jazz fresh, beautiful and eternal values, comparable with the frescoes of Moldovan monasteries; always with the same creative impulse and with the same overwhelming love”
"Jazz & rock"
Virgil Mihaiu - member of the editorial staff of Down Beat, honorific member of the Association of Jazz Critics of the Unites States (JJA).
“…Straordinario virtuoso” - All about jazz (Italy)
“...Artiste virtuose” – Jurnal du Diois, (France)
“...Die Ensembles der Virtuosen” - Burgenlandische Vilkszeitung (Austria)
“...Magnifico … Perfino create del Grandissimo gruppo Trigon. Una performance di grand classe”- Messaggero Veneti (Italy)
“…Fantastisch einfallsreich.. das grandiose begeisternde konzert – “Heilbronner stimme” 3 mai 2006 (Germany)
Mathias Rüegg, Musiker, Gründer des Vienna Art Orchestra zu dem Konzert der Truppe TRIGON:
Es hat mir sehr gut gefallen. Es ist selten, dass man die Bratsche spielen hört.
Es sind sehr gute Musiker, wesentlich besser als viele andere aus dem Crossover-Bereich, die ich kenne.
Wenn Musiker sehr gut spielen, zeichnet sie das immer aus. Jeder Musiker hat eine bestimmte kulturelle Identität
und wenn er seine Sache sehr gut macht, dann kann er etwas vermitteln, was andere Musiker, die in einer anderen Tradition aufgewachsen sind, nicht können.
El cuarteto moldavo Trigon Jazz actúa el día 4, cuando presenten una propuesta que es el resultado de la simbiosis entre la música folk de Moldavia y el jazz; así, el estilo Trigon abarca elementos que van del folk al jazz, del rock a la música sinfónica. Brillantes improvisaciones y una aguda comprensión de las formas musicales caracterizan sus composiciones de jazz, siempre liderados por el violista Anatol Stefanet.
Their mix is incredible and unbeatable – Bassarabian folklore, brilliant fusion, experimenting in the style of modern academic avant-garde, everything based on a solid technique of highest level. They are witty and inventive, ironical and easy and at the same time astonishingly serious, scrupulous and careful to every detail, and all this, I cannot help repeating, performed with an astoundingly high technical skill. Their music can be compared to a good picture – a beautiful general image and the most thorough attention given to the tiniest details. Their main feature could be defined as “they are perfectly organic”, the sign of the highest professionalism. Anatol Stefanet is a musician who seems not to have any difficulty in his work – be it of technical or ”expressive” nature. I’ve read somewhere his description as the “Jimi Hendrix of the viola”. I would agree with this appreciation in the part of the perfect mastering of the instrument, when it looks like the natural extension of the player’s hands. But, in my opinion, Anatol is much more interesting as a musician. Vali Boghean is amazingly talented. A virtuoso of all possible wind instruments – he plays the soprano saxophone, the cornet and a huge amount of traditional Moldovan wind instruments. Another of his instruments he is mastering perfectly is his voice – his vocalises are leaving you spellbound by their beauty; recently his talent was “officially” recognized – Vali received the Grand Prix at the national contest of traditional songs. The piano player Dorel Burlacu is the rhythmic and harmonic base of the group, solid as a rock and a complex one. He impressed us as a soloist as well: Dorel is a great player on harmonica, a rare instrument in our part of the world. Gari Tverdohleb is the master of all percussion instruments, a brilliant and original musician, possessing a flawless rhythm, the ability to outline the most refined nuances and to create a dense and intricate music. M. Frunze, Alliance Maidan.(Ukraine)