Leonhard Huhn alto saxophone, clarinet | Philip Zoubek synthesizers | Simon Nabatov piano | Stefan Schönegg double bass | Dominik Mahnig drums
Verbs in and by themselves are substantival and have significance, for he who uses such expressions arrests the hearer’s mind…
(Aristotle, On Interpretation)
Language becomes a spellbinding repository for intoxicating revelation and cryptic imagery on Verbs, the latest full-length from the remarkable Russian-American pianist Simon Nabatov, a stunning release augmenting his already notable Clean Feed catalogue including this year’s Tender Mercies with German reedist Frank Gratkowski.
Spearheading his augmented Cologne-based 3+2 quintet, featuring new recruits Leonhard Huhn and Phillip Zoubek, alongside familiar trio members Stefan Schönegg and Dominik Mahnig, Nabatov interprets a series of urging semantics as programmatic springboards for glorious spontaneous invention, a lexical calls-to-arms instigating disparate, virtuosic responses; titular signifiers doubling-up as mood-indicators, signalling variances in tempo, pitch, tone and timbre.
Each of the album’s seven dynamic cuts – all collective improvisations, with the exception of Nabatov’s ‘Breathe’ – harbours an enigmatic sting in the tale, the quintet scrying for inscrutable layers of additional meaning behind their original impetus, setting in motion a succession of curve-balling epiphanies, alternating between splendid repose and febrile animation.
From the flickering embers of the plaintively purring ‘Prayer’ and hyper-kinetic, fragmented urgency of ‘Race’, to ‘Evolve’’s mangled retro-futurist bustle and the tentative blooms of the shuffling, ever-ripening ‘Reveal’, Nabatov and his fearless crew of cryptographers set out their mystery-laden credos like a kabbalistic bill-of-fare to be incrementally decoded with each successive listen.
all music improvised, except track 4 – by Simon Nabatov (GEMA)
Recorded October 1, 2022, at the LOFT, Cologne, Germany by Stefan Deistler | Mixed and mastered by Stefan Deistler
Produced by Simon Nabatov | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Design by Travassos