Have you ever imagine listening up to jazz tunes in a club? That is a good idea if you are a jazz freak and also a night clubber. Now, easy for you guys to enjoy two contrast sensations at the same time. Technology always affects the emergence of new types of music. Jazz not only can be found in bars or lounges; it spreads out on the dance floor from every DJ set. People often call it nu jazz. Nu jazz scoops from forging free improvisation of jazz with live instruments into digital electronic zone. It is a combination of many musical components, such as soul, funk, electronic dance music, and jazz for sure. Roots of traditional Jazz and modern electronic music uniquely create multitude of styles. It depends on the artists to explore lots of experimental sounds and spacious concept. Those stuffs can consist of broken rhythms, atonal harmonies, and improvised melody. In nightclub area, nu jazz has very thick electronic dance music vibes. It is a music which is produced principally for filling the need of a circle that concentrates on dance-based entertainment. By using computers and synthesizers, it usually displays percussive music scenes. Disco, techno, hip hop, and house music, all of them in one box to accompany people who search for a delightful dancing party.
Martin Denev is well aware and he takes control of this modern musical texture by his hands. We knew him already as a Bulgarian musician who has traveled the world with his creativity. He had lived in various cities in the world and now he stays in Bali, Indonesia. He expanded his musical knowledge in Rotterdam, Holland to Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, then to Santiago de Cuba with classical piano education background. He improved his skill brightly and experienced on many stages and wide different music. Jazz, hip hop, latin, and dance are successfully carried by his nimble fingers. Remembering his first solo album “Stolen Blessings”, he came back with the second one, “Martin Denev Meets Colonel Red & Other Survivors – Bamness” on Demajors independent label. We had an interview with him in his official album launching at Portico under Tabac JazzCoTheQue about this album. (Read the full length interview here: http://jazzuality.com/interview/exclusive-interview-with-martin-denev/). He continued a great cooperate with Colonel Red, even gave him wider space to contribute. Jazztronica is still being carried on, yet this album has many different things to offer, as Martin said: “It is like the prolongation of a line. More groove… That is what my preference for now. I tried to emphasize the beat and the groove. Sound wise it’s different too. It’s more club oriented.” So that is the path that Denev and his partner in crime, Colonel Red, took for this second album. By listening to “Bamness”, we can find their firm and private connection as two very close friends. They seem have comprehensive desire in music and understand each other musical taste. That is why both of them keep moving forward in collaborating. And the result is magnificent.
Bamness maybe a strange word for us, then Martin explained, “Bamness is like a play of word. It’s like an expression that I use when I really want something and go for it. BAM! Bamness. It’s kind of my own slang. I made it up.” Yes, he did it splendidly. There are awesome multi-national artists he met in Rotterdam, who joined through this whole recording process. Two soul female singers, Ruth Koleva from Bulgaria and Nuria Manzur, a contrabassist Michail Ivanov, drummer Vassil Voutev (aka Soulization), percussionist Fer van Duuren, and a trumpetist Ventzi Blagoev. They try to get a proper name as “Other Survivors”, just like in the title. In Indonesia, he shook the audience by playing with Indonesian musicians. They are Matthew Sayersz and Millane Fernandez on vocals and Demas Narawangsa as an additional drummer. Martin Denev makes ‘artistic drinks’ that uncategorized, but we can taste it on our tongues. Fresh, sweet, and has coke sensation or energy supplement. Well, emphasized the jazz side to clubbers who are not really familiar with it, probably this is a good way to disseminate “jazz fever”. And what’s great about it is he does it naturally. Besides, dance music is a brilliant channel to lead the disco music lovers into ‘a room of jazz ambience’. We agree that new technologies always paint explorative shapes in every single part of life yet disco was born by using those modern tools.
Can’t wait no longer, come on play the CD. “Love Is Hiding in the Changes” says hello to us. Bass pulse starts the song then the synthesizer comes. Energetic soulful voice from Colonel Red, grumpy trumpet of Ventzi Blagoev, and keyboard speak out in the middle of this track. Michail Ivano’s double bass strengthen the wild frame of it. After that, “All of Us” comes in R&B style in medium tempo from Colonel Red’s voice. It is so modern and consists of a thick groovy dance aroma here. Juri Kuefner sticks out the dynamic percussion touches.
“Quiet is The New Loud”, no need to scream and shout. It delivers a bit rock at the beginning. Ruth Koleva pours her vocal into these ‘robotic’ sounds. It is totally a cool music for clubbing. Martin brings his simple poetry lyrics about people who often force their opinions in unnecessary conflict. No hesitate we may call this electronic poem tune. “Postwoman” knocks out us, full of unique melodies, shows broken beat picture. It is free but steady rhythm. Colonel Red says the powerful words, straight, and meaningful.
Nuria Manzur and Martin Denev said that opening the door after door in “Man without a Plan” with spooky atmosphere as the back sound. They have spirit in every word they say, without exaggerating or overacting. The message can be well received. The sixth song is “My Mind is Made Up” and still sheds soulful lyrics by Colonel Red. What a catchy piano. It soothes our heart and mind about life.
Let’s enjoy 80’s sound in “Anyway U Want It”. Deep beat, refreshing, and enlightening are all in one. Suddenly our zest will reach the highest level. A very cheerful nuance, so we cannot stop moving heads and feet. Ruth really spawns the freedom of dreaming in “Nothing but Dreams”. It livens up the faith of achieving our aims in every way. The drums by Vassil Voutev aka Soulization and magical synthesizer bravely lead us to the world that we have been hinting for a long time.
“Turn of Events – Interlude” is like warm water after dancing through the previous songs. Some cooling down touches by Martin Denev on keyboard take us to chill out and calm mood for about one minute. Next, “Turn of Events” as the continuation from the interlude is rich of bop and groove scents as the opening of this track, gleeful and bring back the vitality to walk step by step and do our daily activities.
Eventually, we arrive in the end of album. This is it, “Strong Finally”. Conga by Fer Van Duuren and tough vocal from Colonel Red are fire bomb for our soul. It is getting stronger and stronger because strength is the prime key for us as human to run, jump, or even fly above our life, no matter what the obstacles or hindrances in front of us. Just keep the strength at the first place.
Martin Denev has lots of experiences performing in international music events around the worlds. Especially in Indonesia, the country that he lives today, he has participated at Java Jazz Festival, Soundrenaline, Java Soulnation Festival, and many other uncounted stages. Being an observer and a trotter from one state to another has logically given him precious moments and experiences. By meeting deviation cultures and people, it enriches his musical art; truly conjure him to become a creative artist. His ‘revolt’ act in music creation is a symbol of his conception. He loves to check something new and unconventional. Jazz musicians nowadays to grow faster, they have to open their mind and enter different music box, so they will absorb wealthy knowledge. The rapid progress of computer technology is in a line with electronic musical improvement. The jazz language is universal. It can be a fit mixture with other fashion of tunes including nightclub dance music. It generally becomes a lifestyle for people in big cities and jazz will not die although modern music keeps changing. It is always flexible to find its own model and place. Martin has proved it in elegant way. Well done, Martin!
Love is Hidin’ in the Changes
All of Us
Quiet is the New Loud
Man Without a Plan
My Mind is Made Up
Anyway U Want It
Nothing but Dreams
Turn of Events – Interlude
Turn of Events
Buy the album at Jazzuality’s Online Store: http://store.jazzuality.com/products/cd/martin-denev-meets-colonel-red-and-other-survivors-bamness/
On-stage photos are courtesy of Jazzuality.com
Martin Denev & Colonel Red’s and Vassil Voutev’s photos are courtesy of Martin Denev
Ruth Koleva’s photo is taken from last.fm