Ivan Kapec Trio,
(Dancing Bear, 2003)

The young Croatian Ivan Kapec plays melodic guitar-oriented jazz in the tradition of Pat Metheny and others. But he also brings a Euro-sensibility and a willingness to experiment with electronics to this style of playing.

In general, I find this a very hard style of music to connect with, as it can lack strong rootedness and depth (though a master like Metheny is an exception to this gross generalization). Kapec seems to have mastered the technical aspects of his craft very well, but still has trouble connecting emotionally with the listener. Nor is it a particularly experimental recording. But Kapec has true talent, and the production quality is crisp and clear.

On Bava, named after a weather phenomenon in which a southwest summer wind gives a deceptive impression to the ocean's appearance, Kapec explores some interesting sounds. He's a dextrous and sensitive player and finds a nice groove with his talented bass player Sasa Borovec. The two have obvious chemistry, but drummer Borna Sercar sometimes seems (perhaps deliberately) to be on a different planet.

Kapec and his trio finally do get it together in the later moments of this CD, on such tracks as "Ovcana" where trumpeter Andrej Jakus joins in, and "Novalis" where he adds a string quartet to evoke some different moods.

On "Disappoint," track 10, the drummer/percussionist Sercar finds his groove, and soprano saxophonist Sasa Nestorovic, who also appears on the track "Numina," contributes some fine playing. Fortunately, "Disappoint" does not disappoint at all.

Kapec has as yet to attract much attention in jazz circles outside of his native land. I don't know if Kapec is a fully mature artist as yet, but Bava holds out a promise of things to come. I am prepared to keep tabs on this talented artist to see where his career takes him.

- Rambles
written by David Cox
published 29 May 2004