Vivi Vassileva: Singin' Rhythm
‘Singin’ Rhythm’ finds multi-percussionist Vivi Vassileva pursuing all directions at once, from marimba soloist to bandleader, in a cross-section of music encompassing a contemporary classical solo, Brazilian pop-based fare and several original compositions. The disc opens with Guillo Espel’s Zamba para escuchar tu silencio, treated as a gentle unaccompanied marimba ballad. Only in its energetic third movement does Eric Sammut’s Sailing for Phil aspire beyond pleasant pablum. By the third piece, Marco Pereira’s Bate coxa, Vassileva’s virtuosity comes into its own, egged on by guitarist Lucas Campara Diniz’s nimble fingerpicking. The duo next turn in a deliciously succinct Hora staccato.
Oriol Cruixent’s Marimba moksha mainly stands out for Vassileva’s idiomatic handling of the music’s syncopated samba rhythms, where beats are implied more than stated. Following her sensitively nuanced reading of Keiko Abe’s Dowland Variations, Vassileva multitracks herself on various percussion and mallet instruments for her own Kalino mome, which I find more interesting in the louder, denser passages than in the rambling solo marimba parts. Pipero misturado, a joint composition with Diniz, features the kind of low-key yet pleasant contrapuntal interplay patented by the Modern Jazz Quartet 50-plus years ago. The harmonic predictability of Cruixent’s El parío renders the ensemble’s refined execution ideal for background listening. I hope that the Vassileva Quintet’s next release will be more musically adventurous and daring.