Hristo Vitchev Quartet is 'In Search Of Wonders' on New Self-Released Double CD [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt | Feb 06, 2016 04:36 PM EST
Guitarist Hristo Vitchev (Photo : Courtesy Hristo Vitchev)

Like the 19th-century Parisian art movement known as impressionism spearheaded by Claude Monet [1840-1926], jazz impressionism is one of suggestion within an atmospheric environment that lets the listener's ear interpret the timbre, tonality, different chord combinations and exotic scales with one's own sense of inner logic. Enter the Hristo Vitchev Quartet's self-released In Search Of Wonders, an impressionistic double-album of the highest order. 

Armed with the piano of Jasnam Daya Singh, the bass of Dan Robbins and the drums of Mike Shannon, Guitarist Hristo, 35, originally from Bulgaria but now residing in San Francisco, is a veritable wonder as he noodles, coaxes, meanders and cherry-picks notes out of clean air, a constant dynamic presence within this captivating brew. There's not a note he doesn't love and over the course of 15 tracks, all produced, arranged, written and performed by Hristo with his three compadres, he makes sure to hit every one of them.

Hristo has 11 CDs as leader or co-leader. These four have played as one for the better part of the last decade. They're so attuned to each other's every tic, it's a fun house mirror of odd invention. Before they laid these tracks down in a studio proper, they deleted any possible devil in the details by performing them-and letting them take shape-on stages in Hong Kong, California, Shanghai, Oregon, Washington, Tokyo, Seoul, Florida and South Carolina.

Highlights include the epic 13:33 "It May Backfire," but it doesn't. All four men get their licks in and it kicks mellifluously. Then there's the 9:06 "Without Words, As the Full Moon Shines," a potpourri of sound without fury, emotion without hysterics and, ultimately, satisfaction without sex.

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