Lubo Alexandrov Kaba Horo

This is a sparkling, energetic debut from Alexandrov, who takes on the repertoire of his roots. Kaba Horo is a fusion between jazz, Bulgarian, Turkish and diasporic Gypsy ingredients, glued together with the unobtrusive funk of producer Ramachandra Borcar (aka Ramasutra). Most tunes are very fast paced, showcasing the fleet melodies and turnarounds of Balkan music. Drummer Martin Auguste brings a hand-percussion approach to the drum kit. For instance, the junglist drum part of "A.J.” is played in tandem with Ziya Tabassian’s darbuka, which creates a steamrolling 9/8 groove. "Gankini Horo,” which also showed up on Storseveit Nix Noites’ disc earlier this year, is so lively that bassist Georigi Stankov has to carefully pick his spots to supply lower frequencies. Alexandrov’s instrument of choice, the fretless guitar, works well in this music, allowing him to muster quarter tones and bent notes to evoke the Middle Eastern leanings of the music. His jazz heritage is on display with his comping during other solos and ensemble passages. Alexandrov is constantly throwing down mildly dissonant chords that ratchet up the tension. Borcar continues to carve out a reputation as one of the best producers in Canada — his productions have all the sonic similarities of club-intended music, always managing to achieve a light sound within these furious polyrhythms. (Justin Time)