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Dušan Jevtović — City Hustling
(Bandcamp no#, 2023, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-08-30

City Hustling Cover art

It’s been a few years since I’ve touched bases with the work of this Serbian guitarist now based in Barcelona, and this time out he’s fronting a jazz trio with drummer Marko Djordjevic and bassist Tony Levin, although the definition of jazz here stretches from composed pieces to improvisation to jagged elements that push the limits of the definition. The seven tracks at hand offer plenty of room for the trio to stretch out in many directions. It’s a formidable rhythm section, with Levin playing both acoustic and electric bass and Djordjevic sticking with a standard kit, and they manage to supply a variety of backdrops for Jevtović’s electric musings, from urgent flights to wandering dreamlike passages, though never straying far from the brilliance of his thoughtful and persistent compositions. Often following a path that’s not immediately apparent, it’s hard to predict what might come next — without a lot of mindless repetition, it’s like every few measures start with a clean slate and begin again with some new and interesting variations that keep a listener guessing. His tones are anything but clean, but not so distorted as to get in the way of his melodic richness, though the snarly fretwork of ten hints at some power blues or metal somewhere in his background, as a track like “5 Against 2” capably demonstrates. The appropriately titled explorative number “Searching for New” takes its time finding a direction, but that journey results in some of the finest improvisation that the album has on offer, with the rhythm section turning in a positively wild performance — the track is almost nine minutes long but I find myself withing it would stretch out another nine. The shortest cut, “Do Da,” is a tightly composed and arranged piece that seems to hide some classical influences between all those busy jazz notes. There’s plenty here on City Hustling to captivate the open minded listener, another superb release from Jevtović.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Tony Levin, Dušan Jevtović

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