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A slice of Mediterranean jazz

Serbia
Serbia
By Rale Micic

CTA Records: 2006

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This review first appeared in Turbula in May 2006.

Thinking in musical terms of Serbia, native land of jazz guitarist Rale Micic, generally brings up thoughts of piquant Eastern European harmonies with Middle Eastern overtornes. Given Serbia's geographic and historical role as bridge between Europe and Asia, its Balkan traditions have been dominated by Slavic and Turkish influences.

But the former Yugoslavia is also Mediterranean, just across the Aegean from Italy, and it is this theme that shines through on Micic's new release.

Bright and sunny, almost breezy at times, the music laid down by Micic and his quintet reminds of Wes Montgomery or Cannonball Adderley in its ability to be a light listen while still carrying substantial heft in terms of the musical ideas presented.

Trumpeter Tom Harrell's leads are as mesmerizing as always, showing why he is considered one of the handful of top trumpeters in jazz today, while Bob Reynolds provides a lithe counterpoint on tenor sax.

But this is Micic's session – and his electric hollow-body guitar provides the kind of tasteful sophistication we'd expect from Herb Ellis or Joe Pass.