Zagreb Croatia native, pianist and composer Matija Dedic earned a collegiate degree from the Jazz Academy in Graz, Austria. Dedic comes from a musical family; his father received musical awards and his mom sang with Louis Armstrong and Phil Woods. Some of Dedic's piano teachers have included jazz stalwarts Hal Galper and Barry Harris. Among the musicians Dedic has played with are Benny Golson, Kenny Burrell, Roy Haynes, Alvin Queen, Lenny White and Larry Grenadier. As a composer Dedic has written for television, the theatre and some Croatian pop artists. M.D. in NYC is his second release as a leader.
This recording captures this exceptionally fine musician in league with bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Kendrick Scott. Together the three musicians have crafted a wonderfully tender, yet musically driving and hypnotic musically astute document. The 10 tracks, six Dedic originals as well as a few jazz standards and a couple of pop tunes, are all performed in one of the most wonderfully empathetic jazz piano trio sessions one will ever hear.
Highlights include the wonderfully powerful Dedic original "Slawenskaya." The piece builds steam as Dedic proposes phrase after phrase of disparate ideas which he eventually transforms into a solidly functioning intermeshed whole. The energy gradually builds throughout the five minutes of the track until all three musicians are involved in a series of skitterish and metrically complex rhythmic punctuations they attack with the gusto of a seriously parched man drinking water for the first time in a year.
At other times this ensemble settles into music that is all about the beauty of a single line. Dedic's retransformation of Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage" becomes not so much homage as a way of viewing the composition through a prism. All of the individual colors of Hancock's composition, harmonic and melodic, are delicately pulled apart, piece by piece, line by line, in such a sublime manner one would think the three musicians are playing freely throughout. Archer's solo, done in one of the most subtle double-time manners ever recorded, is accentuated by Scott's light and oh-so-delicate percussion work while Dedic comps behind with figures that offer other suggestions of vistas Archer might want to explore. That it all comes together in such a marvelous manner is a testament to the excellence of all involved.
The brave and softly understated use of synth atmospherics at crucial moments in different compositions, not as color or in a harmonic sense, but instead to create a depth of background setting, is so perfectly balanced with the sublime ensemble interplay it's impossible to think of this music without those washes. This is, no doubt, one of the top 10 discs of 2011.