Devotion by Marko Churnchetz
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1. Being There
6. Risk Free
7. Bass Intro
8. Without Tomorrow
Official worldwide release date - July 7, 2014
Devotion is the Whirlwind debut from pianist and composer Marko Churnchetz (Črnčec), a Slovenian who currently spends time living between his home country and New York City. Still in his twenties, he's building a strong reputation as a formidable multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and producer who works across genres.
Devotion is a prime example of how many contemporary musicians are no longer concerned with genre boundaries. Featuring a stew of influences, the album is a no-holds-barred program of original music from Churnchetz, performed by three New York based musicians: Mark Shim (saxophones), Chris Tordini (basses) and Justin Brown (drums). The music is comprised of intricate rhythms, virtuosic passages, introspective ballads and free improvisations.
Devotion is seeded in the influence of Miles Davis' 'Bitches Brew', Herbie Hancock's 'Headhunters', Joe Zawinul's 'Weather Report' and Chick Corea's 'Return to Forever'; however, the album is thoroughly contemporary in its delivery, with nods to the latest in rock, soul, hip hop and drum 'n bass, as well as an appreciation for the bands of Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Steve Lehman. Marko's writing is also notably personal (the album is a dedication to his Mother, recently deceased) offering the listener anthem-like melodies alongside an attention to groove and pulse, ranging from breakbeat to hard swing.
Marko explains some of the concepts behind the songs on the album:
"I consider myself to be a composer who aspires to balance intellect with emotion, while never forgetting that music can make people move, dance, and smile. I try to explore many different moods within a piece that directly translates my musical tastes. For example, 'Schizo' is a tune that features a flamenco intro with modern classical style technique and phrasing mixed with a rhythmical approach that was influenced from Indian Classical Music as a result of my studies with the great Guru Pandit Suresh Talwalkar. It also features Mark on the electric midi controller which offers some different sounds compared to the traditional saxophone. For me it is about coming up with the most accurate representation of where I am as a person who loves and has studied a great deal of music."
Album of the Year (#1) - AP Reviews An Album of the Year - All About Jazz
"An international debut recording that sees an impressively fiery new pianist off to a flying start."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine
"Excellent... Musically the first thing that strikes you about the album is the mastery of different rhythmic and compositional settings."
★★★★ All About Jazz
"A strong piece of work impressive not only for the quality of the writing but also for the wholehearted absorption and development of its ethos by the whole band."
The Jazz Breakfast
“Devotion” is a stunning début. Churnchetz sounds like a musician -and composer- who is just bursting with ideas."
★★★★ The Jazz Mann
"This is quite an exhilarating ride for fans of the kind of stuff that's going on in New York's contemporary sharp-angled, rhythm-orientated, lef-field jazz clubs."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine
"A possessor of dazzling technique, in terms of speed, accuracy and the ability to turn a phrase into a big run."
"THAT MOMENT when the ears prick up and the spine tingles. In the world of contemporary jazz, it happens fairly frequently… but not so often to this level. Debuting on the Whirlwind label, Slovenian pianist/keyboardist and composer Marco Churnchetz may just have entered the annual ‘best of’ stakes with Devotion – an outstanding program of originals. A wondrous release."
"The disc delivers everything we have come to expect of modern contemporary jazz: brilliant virtuosity; powerful and complex rhythmic drive, all informed by intelligent eclecticism."