Long Awaited Follow Up - Zen Zadravec - Human Revolution - Marmite Records
Label: Marmite Records (FACTOR)
Street Date: July 24, 2020
"I have listened to Zen Zadravec's new CD and all I can say is WOW!!! Some really tricky writing here and the band really nails everything. Zen has fashioned a CD of mostly original compositions which are full of interesting rhythmic ideas and harmonic movement. The players all approach the music with a very high level of commitment. I confess that perhaps my favorite Jamiliah, a song he wrote for his wife. Mal Waldron's Soul Eyes is given a very tender and soulful treatment. Lilies and Roses is a beautiful waltz with lots of space. This is indeed a great recording with great playing, great writing, and I can hardly wait for the next recording!"
Zen Zadravec, jazz pianist, saxophonist, and composer views all music as a form of creative communication. The goal is to create music based on human experience. It is also to absorb as much music as possible to develop through the lens of Humanism based on the philosophies of Nichiren Buddhism. Ultimately, Zadravec strives to create music that inspires, encourages, and touches people's hearts.
Zadravec is a musical chameleon. Whether it is jazz, R&B, funk, rock, or pop, he plays each with a freshness and confidence rarely found in someone so young. Born in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1974, Zadravec studied classical piano from the age of five. At eleven, he began studying the saxophone and the flute. Hearing Miles Davis transformed his life and influenced his decision to become a jazz musician. In 1992, Zadravec attended York University's Jazz Program, and in 1997 he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. During his time at York, Zadravec was also the recipient of two Oscar Peterson Awards for excellence as a jazz pianist. In 2000, he earned a Graduate's Degree in Jazz Performance at Rutgers University. Zadravec also has studied with some of the biggest names in jazz, such as Kenny Barron, Don Thompson, John Gittens, Vic Juris, Ted Dunbar, and Ralph Bowen.
A natural innovator and leader, he runs two of his own bands: the Zen Zadravec Quartet and his fusion group Human Revolution. Zadravec has also performed or recorded with: Ron Carter, Louis Hayes, Karriem Riggins, Ali Jackson, Mike Pope, Mark Whitfield Jr., Bijon Watson, Mark Gross, Derrick Gardner, Vincent Gardner, Todd Bashore, Kenny Davis, Steve Turre, Ralph Bowen, Sean Jones, Conrad Herwig, Freddie Hendrix, Don Thompson, Lorne Lofsky, Charles Fambrough, Valery Ponomarev, Dave Watson, Darryl Dixon, Gloria Gaynor, Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, Sally Kellerman, among others.
Versatile, creative, energetic, and dynamic, Zadravec is continuously experimenting and refining his sound and musical conception through concerts, recordings, and education. His music is always exploring beautiful melodies, interesting chord progressions, and rhythmic diversity.
Zadravec's latest CD release titled Human Revolution is a musical work supported by the Canadian Grant Organization called Factor or (The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings).
This work pushes all boundaries in Zadravec's composing from the use of melody, harmony, rhythm, and even employing odd time signatures and the voice as a melodic device-vocalese.
"The Nature of All Things" was inspired by the music of Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Joe Henderson. It explores an extended compositional form with swing and Latin influences. The band swings for the fences musically on this one with inspired solos and masterful playing!
"Mentor Disciple" is also musically influenced by Chick Corea circa, 1980s. It is a hard-hitting and intense composition featuring Mike Pope on bass playing the main melody with piano. Some really intricate writing here and beautifully executed. Conceptually, the title is based on a Buddhist principle called: Mentor Disciple Relationship. In any discipline in life, a person who guides the development of another may be regarded as a mentor. In Nichiren Buddhism, one is concerned with the happiness of others and their own personal development. Thus, the Mentor Disciple Relationship is fundamental. This relationship between mentor and disciple in Buddhism is the shared pledge to work together for the happiness of people and free them from suffering. Altruism.
"Live!" encompasses the idea of living life to the fullest with no regrets. Zadravec also explores the use of voice as a melodic device reminiscent of Bobby McFerrin and Pat Metheny. This composition is crafted in 7/4 Time featuring a beautiful melody, amazing solos, and muscular playing.
"Climb" is a profoundly swinging homage to the musical influences of Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard, and Kenny Garrett.
"Jamiliah" represents a husband's love for his wife and best friend. A lyrical straight eighth composition performed beautifully by vocalist Dylan Bell.
"Soul Eyes, " a Mal Waldron composition, illustrates the influence of Kenny Barron's musical mentorship on Zadravec's musical conception. This track showcases artistic performances from Todd Bashore, Derrick Gardner, and Zen Zadravec.
"Lilies and Roses" delve into another side of Zadravec's creative influences: Kenny Kirkland. Simply stated, the composition is introspective and lyrical.
"Human Revolution" according to Nichiren Buddhism, is the pursuit and process of bettering one's self through chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, becoming stronger, wiser, shedding your lesser self, overcoming obstacles, becoming happy, and helping others to do the same. This gorgeous composition takes chances melodically, harmonically, and rhythmically to produce a gem of a song. One can hear the melody developing throughout the composition, much like a person growing on a personal level.
Overall, a beautiful and uplifting snapshot of Zadravec, the pianist, the composer, and artist.
PLAYERS & INSTRUMENTS:
Zen Zadravec- Piano
Todd Bashore - Alto and Soprano Saxes
Derrick Gardner - Trumpet
John Douglas - Trumpet (Track 1)
Kenny Davis -Bass
Mike Pope - Bass (Track 2, 3)
Mark Whitfield Jr. - Drums
Dylan Bell – Vocals (Track 3, 4)
TRACKS AND TIMES & COMPOSER:
1.The Nature of All Things - 6:12
2.Mentor Disciple - 7:17
3.Live! - 8:24
4.Climb – 9:09
5.Jamiliah - 8:29
6.Soul Eyes – 8:32
7.Lilies and Roses – 6:34
8.Human Revolution – 7:45
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