Monday, May 19, 2008

David Doruzka's Silent Dawning

One of the big motivations in starting this blog was to occasionally plug exceptional records that come my way, things that I feel stand out in the jazz world. It was with much anticipation that I received David Doruzka's new CD Silent Dawning last week, which is new out on a Czech label called Animal Music.

David is a guitarist originally from Czech Republic who studied in Boston and afterwards lived in New York briefly, where we met and played quite a bit. From the first time we played together, David became one of my musical heroes, one of the most committed and dedicated musicians I have known. Despite that fact that we are just about the same age, I always felt I was playing with an elder when playing with him. He always displays such patience, focus and restraint in any situation.

After just a year in New York, David decided to move back to Prague and has lived there since, with a brief period living in Paris. I had the joy of spending a few weeks there with him in 2004 and he told me about his search for a new direction in his music and his desire to record a group with a Swedish singer named Josefine Lindstrand whom he had met while touring with British pianist Django Bates.

Four years later, he has released Silent Dawning, an album of song settings and original songs based around Lindstrand's beautiful and haunting voice. Included are four settings of Emily Dickinson poems, as well as songs in Czech and Swedish.

David's ability to set these poems in a complex and interesting sound world without detracting from the texts is astonishing. He has taken some weighty material that most would shy away from, very little of which is in his native tongue, and brought an incredible sensitivity to it. There's a lot of sophistication in this writing, but it never intrudes on the poem, and the musicians on the record (also on it are Lukasz Zyta and Michal Baranski, both Polish I believe) also know how to stay out of the way of the text. Lindstrand brings an astonishing voice to the music, one that reminds me ever so slightly of Rebecca Martin's coarse but slightly fragile delicateness, especially on some of the more folksy tunes on the record. The playing is great throughout, and David's sense of harmony, form and sound is quite profound.

For those of us on this side of the ocean, the CD is available at CD Baby and is beautifully packaged, featuring a booklet with all the texts translated into Czech, Swedish and English.

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