DVD Review: Branco Stoysin Trio – Live at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, London

Branco Stoysin TrioLive at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, London
(Sun Recordings DVD BST-SR 24597-D1, DVD Review by Chris Parker)

Taking its material from just two of Branco Stoysin‘s six Sun albums, 2003’s Heart is the Bridge and 2007’s Quiet Stream Breaks the Rocks, this DVD documents a 2008 concert by the Serbia-born guitarist and his rhythm section, six-string bassist Leslee Booth and drummer Buster Birch, at London’s Pizza Express jazz club in Dean Street, Soho.

Appropriately enough, given the consistently non-grandstanding nature of Stoysin’s art – he eschews many of the contemporary guitarist’s showier characteristics such as a reliance on electronic gadgetry, bursts of feedback, lightning runs or sudden changes of tone and texture, relying instead purely on unfussy dexterity, rhythmic subtlety and a keenly melodic ear for his effect on audiences – the filming is spare, even basic in its almost unblinking focus on the trio.

The result is an entirely faithful record of a Stoysin performance, taking in everything from individual takes on the blues (‘Miss D’) and burnished ballads (‘Mahogany Won’t Die’), to folk tunes (‘Shana, Darling’) and highly personal meditations on recent Serbian history (‘Bridge in Heart, Heart is the Bridge’, which uses the destruction of a Danube-spanning bridge in Stoysin’s home town of Novi Sad as a metaphor).

Booth and Birch are characteristically supple and sympathetic throughout, and Stoysin’s playing might have been specially designed to illustrate the wisdom of the aforementioned South Slavic proverb hedescribes as a ‘source of inspiration and encouragement’: ‘A quiet stream breaks the rocks’.

Available from JazzCDs.co.uk

Categories: miscellaneous

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