Damir Outloud- Graduation Day

Damir Outloud - Graduation Day

Damir Outloud –  Graduation Day

I have been remiss; I’ve been keeping Damir Outloud’s Graduation Day, released on GEMA Unit Records, mostly to myself for the last several months, listening to it in-house which is completely unjust. Well, that’s not completely true either.  I play it in the car and my young son in the backseat, also listening, shakes an egg filled with tiny beads along to it while it plays.  We both agree on this one.  It’s such good music compositionally, so smooth and seamlessly connected once inside,  I have found it hard to stop listening to it in order to write about it.  You’ll find the CD for sale on Amazon.com and you’ll be happy to listen to it and own it as I have been.    In fact, the last track “The joint” will leave you wanting to hear much more from this combination of jazz musicians; a feat I find particularly wanting nowadays in general. So, how have they managed this?

From “Face full of hair” to “The joint” (8 tracks total), these musicians make balancing their skills amid a range of dynamics seem easy; they work together to create something that sounds really right and light, as well as fast and tight all the way through. And the project moves faster than you’d imagine;  it’s all over in less than 40 minutes.   Perhaps this is part of the intrigue then?  Less really is more in music as well as design.   It also doesn’t shout at a furious pace,  or wrangle emotions out of me through gimmick.  Each track finds a quiet intensity and heat through rhythmic horns or percussion, but those rhythms fade in and out to let the vibes take over for mixed interludes that fit, rather than completely interrupt, the project.  Then the rhythm returns in a different way and continues to build.   “Use mine”, for example, seems the centerpiece of the album, and a highlight for me musically.  Clearly, the musicians are sharing a lot already;  metaphorically it’s a powerful track.   The trumpet and trombone (I think I hear them both) run parallel here.  The restrained dynamics as they rise and fall,  added to the original and playful melody make this one a sumptuous favorite.  It’s just totally gorgeous.   All the instruments seem on full display,  and they fall in with each other in exactly the right way.

This is a complicated jazz, we are not talking about the standard trio or quartet (not that that jazz is ever simple); it’s just that with eight musicians (possibly more) amid trumpet, clarinet, bass clarinet, french horn, trombone, acoustic and electric vibraphone, double bass, and drums – each one could, at any time,  threaten the balance.  But that never happens, it remains a cooperative project. I never catch the over analytical either,  something that hijacks even the best intentioned contemporary jazz efforts.  Instead,  Damir Bacikin, Barbara Venetikidou, Miguel Perez Inesta, Lucas Fichtner, Ferdinand “Fred” Henrich, Julius Heise, David Hagen, and Miklos Szilveszter create something that sounds easy, rich and wonderful to listen to, while the ease of the music masks the effort and abilities behind it.   I take Graduation Day to mean that they have graduated from the first recording,  and the next one is on the way.  Send word when to expect it.