released January 22, 2016
Lucian Ban – piano
Abraham Burton – tenor saxophone
John Hébert – bass
Eric McPherson – drums
Mat Maneri – viola (tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, 9)
Gavril Tarmure – vocals (tracks 1, 5, 8)
Streams of influence from the past and cultural identities sometimes merge with one’s quest for forms of expression. „Songs From Afar is very personal for me because the album is intimately tied to my Romanian cultural heritage and to the jazz influences that help me find out more about where I come from – and where I’m going. It’s not only the ancient Transylvanian folk songs that we approach in this recording, it’s also how the other pieces and improvisations reflect the constant search for musical meaning,“ notes Transylvanian expat pianist and composer Lucian Ban talking about his second album with Elevation quartet (and his third album on Sunnyside).
Featuring saxophonist Abraham Burton, bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson with special guest violist Mat Maneri, Songs From Afar incorporates their extensive knowledge of modern jazz and creative music with the astonishing voice of Transylvanian folk singer Gavril Tarmure to create a program of music with a unique identity that spans continents and styles.
„Long the night and I’m awake/ What may happen to poor sleep/ If I lay down sleep on sleep/And one night sleep all of it“ are the lyrics of an ancient folk song passionately sung by Gavril Tarmure in the opening number – the beauty of this rare and timeless song that has been passed on for generations comes to life in Lucian Ban’s arrangement of “Transylvanian Sorrow Song” where the singer is accompanied by the ardent commentary of Burton’s saxophone and the band’s spiritual modal jazz, setting the mood for the entire album…