There is a certain rough-hewn directness in BRGS Time, the extremely interesting and challenging debut recording from drummer Jaka Berger. Berger is described by his compatriot Samo Salamon as a self-taught musician, which means to me that he has not allowed schooling to trample his originality.
While ostensibly led by Berger, the session is actually a group effort by Berger, Achille Succi and Salamon (who have recorded together on Salamon-led albums including Keia's Secret). Of the ten tunes, seven were written by Berger and Salamon, plus one by Berger and two by Salamon.
The balance and interplay of the unique instrumentation are easily heard on this well-recorded disc. Berger is naturally very exposed, and he ends up being more of a melodic percussionist than merely a rhythmic timekeeper. He manages to balance his purely rhythmic duties with a role as a melodic voice that is both independent and in constant interplay with Succi's reeds and Salamon's guitar.
The tunes, regardless of their author, each evoke a particular emotional space that the group explores as the track evolves. The material is less made up of traditional melodies than motivic phrases that serve as grist for the playing that is passed around. Salamon uses a hard, somewhat distorted tone most of the time, which helps ensure a feeling of directness and action. As the only chordal player, he also balances the dual roles of harmonic color and support, also soloing and playing lines in response to Succi. Continue reading at ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM.