Review by Richard Cochrane for «Homeless Songs»

“Accordion player and vocalist Evelyn Petrova and trumpet virtuoso Vyacheslav Guyvoronsky have released a striking statement in Homeless Songs — folk-like pieces intermixed with vocals (ranging from lyrical statements to the most extreme histrionics) and founded upon extraordinary accordion technique and improvisational skill and trumpets passages of incredible beauty.

Beautifully, stunningly played, the end impression is one of master musicians who have a love for the traditional music of their country, extended improvisational techniques, and the full range of extended vocal sounds.

Vital, shamanistic and indelibly marked with the soul of Mother Russia, Petrova has stirred audiences both as a solo artist and in the company of contemporary jazz artists such as fellow countryman trumpeter Vyacheslav Gayvoronskyi.
A native of St. Petersburg, accordionist and vocalist Evelyn Petrova combines a tuneful folk sensibility with astounding technical command of her instrument to create a powerful solo performance. Though she is an accomplished performer on accordion in many styles, the addition of her rich singing voice emphasizes the song-based nature of her solo work.”
“Brilliant accordion player, composer, new Russian music star Evelyn Petrova was highly praised by Ian Anderson, after her performance with his legendary Jethro Tull on the stage of the concert-hall “Octyabrsky”. She used to work with Vyacheslav Gayvoronsky in the ensemble, and later in the duet with him. Working with him she got introduced with jazz-improvisations and new music trends. At present Evelyn Petrova is a rising star of not only Russian but European new music as well.”

“Here jazz-like improvisation finds a happy medium with Russian folk melodies and more! She’s an amazing and undeniably intense performer. Ms. Petrova’s technical acumen is often mind-boggling, as she also scats and chants atop her lightning fast breaks and unexpected shifts in momentum. Hearing is believing!”

“Tall, robust and beautiful with an extraordinary voice and virtuoso accordion playing technique, a new star of huge proportions is born. Evelyn Petrova’s raw, rootsy, sometimes almost vulgar primitivism blends seamlessly with the free flowing ease of a jazz improviser and the precision of a classical virtuoso.”

“Guyvoronsky opens this CD like he’s about to be in big trouble if he doesn’t prove he’s a virtuoso right now. The level of control he exerts over the trumpet while pushing it through the most punishing of workouts is astonishing, and the musicality of the result – a few histrionics, but mostly a beautifully vocal performance – is enough to sit you down and make you listen, whether you’ve heard of him or not. The rest of the disk reveals something quite unique.

Guyvoronsky makes extensive use of composition, and while he’s influenced by classical Modernism there’s a very much stronger Latin American feel to most of the pieces here. Perhaps it’s just the accordion, but the duo did make their debut appearance at the Astor Piazzola competition in Italy, where they won a prize.

Petrova’s sound is ravishing, mostly avoiding the reediness associated with the accordion in favour of a timbre often reminiscent of a wind band. Her instincts when improvising are rarely wrong, and Guyvoronsky’s writing for her is superb.

The trumpet player himself is both an original and a fine technician. He’s poised, thoughtful and penetrating, always on top of his game and always finding something useful to say with even the most abstract material. Sometimes his straight playing can be deliberately awkward, following the most dazzling runs with something really quite lumpen, but that’s part of his technique; constant juxtaposition and variation of approach (noises, notes, runs, shouting) over short periods, constant adherence to a single theme or idea for long periods. It’s an unusual approach, and it takes a short time to get to grips with it, but it’s worth the effort.

Guyvoronsky is, quite simply, a unique trumpeter. Although many — Chet Baker and Miles Davis to name the most obvious — have embraced the instrument’s diffident, tender side, few have followed the instrument’s own logic with such self-effacing grace. Although there’s a dancing brilliance in this music, it’s slurred and accidental, wonderfully casual; there’s none of Davis’s arrogance or Baker’s melancholy here. Notes crack and slide out from under the melodic line, but it never sounds like lack of technique (which it isn’t; Guyvoronsky is a formidable technician). Rather, there’s a charming openness to the trumpet’s own voice which is fresh, warm and friendly, adjectives one rarely uses in discussions about «free» jazz.

Well, as usual, the jazz here isn’t so free anyway. One gets the impression that numerous preparations have been made for these pieces, and there’s a definite sense of melodic ideas being worked through here. Like many whose music is apprently simple but surprisingly rich, the tunes here are often song-like, even folksy, but buried deep in what’s heard.” (Richard Cochrane)

Evelina Petrova and Roberto Dani
Part of the project "Mirrors. Dedication to Andrey Tarkovsky"
Fornacepasquinuci gallery, Italy 2014

Two fragments
(Lullaby, Round-Dance)

Evelina Petrova and Alexander Balanesku. Video from Ethnomechanica world music festival 2009 in Saint-Petersburg.

Previous concerts

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