Milena Jancuric "Shapes And Stories" Off Topic Magazine di Riccardo Talamazzi

The "synaesthesia" are sensory-perceptive phenomena for which a certain stimulus causes a sensation different from that normally experienced. It may happen, for example, that a sound can also be understood simultaneously as color or vice versa. The flute, for those who know how to grasp this suggestion, evokes pastel colors, a light blue or a spring green. Milena Jancuric is a young Serbian flutist, with classical studies behind her and an attention increasingly attracted to jazz and other contemporary sounds. The blue tones of his instrument gently touch different musical territories ranging from a modern jazz vision to classical remembrances, from more aggressive blows - a la Roland Kirk, so to speak - to modal landscapes that evoke distant popular traditions. A touch of Debussy, an ounce of romanticism and just a very veiled hint of experimentation help to better understand this artist and his first titular album, Shapes and Stories, released on the Apulian label A.Ma Records. Jancuric is a pure flutist, her studies, as I read from the press notes, were conducted both in Belgrade and at Berklee College in the USA. His music, however, has a vast, extra-academic breath and moves casually between different punctuations without sentimentality, indeed conducting his melodic lines with dry clarity, overall outlining an image of rigorous structural substance. The album created enjoys a pleasant, exciting brightness, ensuring a freshness that does not wither even after repeated listening. The musicians accompanying Jancuric are Alexandar Dujin on piano, Petar Radmilovic on drums, Ervin Malina on double bass. Then appear with impromptu interventions Milan Jancuric on tenor sax, Lazar Novkov on accordion and finally the singer Aleksandra Denda.

Purple Shoes Steps begins with an ethereal game of cymbals and three repeated rhythmic double bass notes, while the piano embroiders its parts by playing on the modal and evoking the echo of some oriental melody. This approach then ends with a short interlude in ¾ which later leads to a real jazz improvisation. In short, many states of mind in a single, long piece whose directive appears to be not very linear at times and in which the only way not to get lost is to follow the repeated movement of the double bass like a string of Ariadne. Don’t fall me fall immediately presents itself with flute and piano as a prologue, one to lead the melody, the other to trigger a repeated arpeggio on the keyboard. Here too there is ample room for improvisation, even if sometimes one gets the impression that the group risks getting lost in its own initiatives. In closing, the introductory intention resumes, with the sax contributing, behind the scenes, to the harmonic support of the flute. In both of these first two songs of the album, however, the unusual feeling of a too sharp detachment between themes and spaces for improvisation remains. However that may be, the following Circle and Lines leads inside a groove where the piano sets the basic tempo and harmony. When the flute appears we also listen to the voice of the Denda whose singing, very discreet to tell the truth, will flank the piece more or less until the end. The sax is the highlight of the entire track, it enters aggressively, taking a space of its own and creating a little free uproar. Memories is little more than an interlude that is announced with a whispered drums - which is saying a lot - and the flute that aims to create an atmosphere of rarefied suspension. Steps and Curls starts a little heavier and then lightens up a little before the middle with an accordion intervention that simulates, in the sonority and in the passages performed, the work of a sax. After the appearance of the piano it is the flute's turn to look out on the solo in full jazz atmosphere with a clean passage of notes. It must be said that Jancuric is not lost in superfluous frills, she aims at the point, not many notes, not many scales but focuses on the material necessary to be as effective and expressive as possible. I don't think I'm wrong in saying that the track that follows, Blue Sparrow Dark Eyes is the best of the whole album. In the slowed down time, in the simple but weighted melody, in the classic reverberations of the French early twentieth century, the Serbian flutist probably reaches the highest and most synthetic moment. The piano also seems to expand the chords, with a few voicings in favor of clear positions without dissonances, while the double bass launches into a beautiful full, round solo, with a caressing and empathetic tone. The flute is played really well and to a different extent from the previous tracks, it has all the ease of spreading its wings, especially in the second part. In short, a great listening from start to finish and the seven and odd minutes of the same piece in question seem even too few. Dreams in you demonstrates in its initial stages ambitions very similar to the previous track with a dreamy and romantic plan that builds a long introduction. Continuing to listen, we realize that we are dealing with a more complex piece of Blue Sparrow ... less captivating, if you like, but just as remarkable. We fully appreciate the tonality of the flute and in these more relaxed situations a Jancuric is more at ease just when she has the possibility to dilate her notes in longer breaths. Commendation for Dujin's plan which is the real instrumental keystone on which the entire executive project of Shapes and stories seems to be supported.  In conclusion it is a well made and well played album especially by the essential trio that revolves around the owner, always supporting her with the right, calibrated support. A few moments of stasis and confusion, as already mentioned, in the not always fluid passage from the theme to the improvisation section but the presence in particular of the last two pieces, this time perfect in their realization, redeems by far the previous venial sins .