Visions in Black & White
I had only just heard of Mikael Tariverdiev – and learned the tiniest bit about him (he was sometimes referred to as “the Russian Morricone” that, as you can imagine, was enough for me) and then I heard this. A new compilation that collects up some of his straight jazz work – the Black & White “Visions” of the title being music he pushed into place via his own piano playing I presume. What a player. And here he leads various combos through some thrill-ride jazz and some shorter musical cues, that if not taken directly from TV and film scores certainly resemble the motifs he made when that was his main gig.
Opener, Playing Together, is six minutes of cymbal-driven madness. It’s like Brubeck, the Star Wars Cantina Band and, well, Morricone were put together in a room and told to invent trip-hop roughly three decades before St. Germain told us – via a borrowed record – that he wanted us “to get together”.
From there it wafts all over the place, smoky café jazz (Unfinished recording – variation), tapdancing brushwork meets Milt Jackson vibes (Theme from Olga Sergeevna), Satie-like sonatas (Prelude from My Younger Brother) and relaxed, Modern Jazz Quartet-styled lounge-bar workouts (Little School Orchestra).
This is glorious stuff. So easy to like. So warm to cushion back into. A lick of the classical here (Sunday) and some honking shriek-jazz there (Black and White). It’s just perfect. And when it’s not it’s intriguing. But I’m in love with this. My favourite new jazz is decades old Russian TV and film scores – or music that came from the maestro that cooked up so many of them. Go figure. But I’m in! And I reckon you should give it a whirl too.
Bookending with the bop that bespoke proto-hipsters upcycled into trip-hop (All This Jazz) you’re guaranteed to love at least half of this and I don’t think there’s a dud track here.