Tag Archives: Third Stream

LOVELY AND SPACIOUS: SERBIAN FOLK-JAZZ RHAPSODIES by PAT O’LEARY

Most of us  know Pat O’Leary as a stellar bassist, a swinging jazz cellist, someone with a quick verbal wit and an untrammeled imagination.  But our Patrick (as I’ve already discussed on this blog) is someone with wider visions, going deeper into his own combination of creative improvisation (jazz for soloists and ensemble) and Serbian folk-melodies.  Here is a wonderfully moving segment from his latest work, called Trojanka:

What expansive music that is — and I don’t mean loud or overblown.  Rather, Pat has merged the three or four worlds: the jazz quartet of himself, Stjepko Gut, trumpet;  Renato Chicco, piano;  Dennis Mackrel-drums, the lovely symphony orchestra, the choir, and those deeply melodic folk strains to create something new and lovely, where one element doesn’t overpower the other.  Musical synergy at its best.

This performance was recorded (also beautifully!) at the Sava Centar, Belgrade, Serbia, on June 4, 2011.

In two days, I hope to see the eminent Mr. O’Leary swinging out with the EarRegulars at The Ear Inn — but to know what else he is capable of makes me very proud to know such a creative fellow.

PAT O’LEARY’S NIGHTINGALE

If you had asked me, a few months ago, to tell you all I knew about Patrick O’Leary, I would have said, “Wonderful bass player — a real melodic sensibility and strong time — and an extraordinary jazz cellist.  Witty fellow, a good sort.”  And I would have directed you to some of the videos I’ve taken at The Ear Inn for proof.  But that estimate, which remains true, would have sold Mr. O’Leary short as a classical composer and arranger, someone able to integrate jazz improvisation and folk material into classical forms (vocal as well as instrumental) doing justice to all the music. 

I wouldn’t make such claims without musical evidence.  Here is  the third section from Pat’s MONTENEGRO JAZZ SUITE, his choral / symphonic improvisations on the Monenegrin folk song “Slavjo Poje,” which translates appropriately as “Nightingale.”

Pat explains, “Maja Popovich asked me to write a suite of pieces based on Montenegrin folk music for choir, string ensemble, and jazz quartet.  Stjepko Gut played the trumpet and flugelhorn, Ehud Asherie, piano; Tom Melito, drums, and I played bass and arranged.  Zoja Durovic conducted the choir and Irena Vukovic conducted the string ensemble. This concert was filmed at The Kic Center in Podgorica, Montenegro on June 21, 2009. Everyone did a great job considering the amount of time allowed for rehearsal(s).”

For my readers who have a classical background, see if the string writing isn’t reminiscent of Vaughan Williams or perhaps Barber’s ADAGIO FOR STRINGS — and for jazz listeners who might be less patient, wait a bit and your patience will be rewarded by marvelous playing from the quartet.  Bravo!

And other sections of the MONTENEGRO JAZZ SUITE are accessible on YouTube: visit Pat’s channel, “usenewsyuleooze,” a name that will make much more sense when muttered aloud.