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Alina Bzhezhinska - Altera Vita - Import CD

Alina Bzhezhinska - Altera Vita - Import CD



April 5, 2024


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Catalog No.: BBE779ACD

JAN/ISBN: 197190529081

Number of Discs: 1

Country/Region of Manufacture: Import


Alina Bzhezhinska


Altera Vita is a six-track collaboration by harpist/percussionist Alina Bzhezhinska and saxophonist/percussionist Tony Kofi. She leads the HipHarp Collective; he is a leading light in the U.K.s jazz scene who has served as a live tenorist for Cymande, worked with Jamaaladeen Tacuma, and played with Bzhezhinska on 2018s Inspiration. His own album, Another Kind of Soul, appeared in 2020. The sound of three bells -- courtesy of a metal bowl and mallet -- introduces opener "Tabula Rasa - Blank Slate." Kofi plays solo for the first minute, gently articulating a theme and melody. Bzhezhinska enters, framing the ballad in lush chords before carefully underscoring and adorning his lines with modal inquiry. "Tu Vides - You See" is initiated by multi-tracked kalimbas as Bzhezhinska strums, rubs, and plucks the strings in her instruments lower register, thereby setting both rhythmic and harmonic patterns before Kofi enters with a slow, open melody rippled in modal blues. Her vamp-like frame around his horn provides a mantra for his improvisation; they come back together on the bridge. She becomes more assertive, briefly moving outside. Her blue, middle-register bass notes and bells anchor the saxophonist, exhorting him to go deeper and wider. "Tange - Touch" offers tender yet exploratory call-and-response between the principles. Ibiza-based saxophonist Muriel Grossmann guests on tamboura and introduces Kofis tenor on "Audite Me - Hear Me." Their drone hovers before the harpist lays down a two-chord pattern for the saxophonist while Grossmann maintains the drone. Kofi begins to explore drama, dynamic, and more assonant tonal experiments, suggesting Alice Coltranes M.O. on Huntington Ashram Monastery. His last solo offers circular breathing and microphonic phrasing. On "Anima - Breathe" Bzhezhinska initiates a two-chord pattern; Kofi responds with a tender, minimal melody as the harpist explores the tonal body in her response. She conjures light and darkness with her instrument, layering plucked arpeggios, chords, and strummed cadences as food for the saxophonist. He takes his time, quoting her first, then responding by building a denser architecture. The title-track single closes the set. It was composed in memory of and tribute to saxophonist Pharoah Sanders after his passing in 2022. Both principals shared a stage with him at a John and Alice Coltrane tribute in 2017; Sanders aesthetic spiritual influences here are incalculable. The spectral lyric is articulated slowly by a saxophone as the harp responds strategically, winding around those notes and accenting Kofis rich, elegant tone. The pair engage in poignant call-and-response before the harp inserts a droning vamp, then glissandos and lyricism. Kofi re-engages with sparse, modal blues before they come back together to jointly state the root note. While Altera Vita is quiet and warm, it doesnt flinch from improvisation. The music is offered with authority, grace, and reverence as these players strip off layers to communicate and share with one another generously and intimately. All told, it results in Altera Vita providing listeners with an inspiring balm in difficult times. ~ Thom Jurek


1.Tabula Rasa [Blank Slate]
2.Tu Vides [You See]
3.Tange [Touch]
4.Audite Me [Hear Me]
5.Anima [Breathe]
6.Altera Vita [Another Life]

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