Recent Recordings by Area Musicians

An imprint from 2019, Human Revolution (Marmite Records) is the debut CD from pianist Zen Zadravec. It makes a strong jazz statement from the outset.

Though you may have heard him accompanying singers (Joan Belgrave), local heroes (Leonard King, Ron English) or national stars, Zadravec is very much a Detroit-based post-bop-driven player and leader who gives much of the limelight to saxophonist Todd Bashore and trumpeter Derrick Gardner, letting them bask in his heads-up, witty, melodic compositions. Top-notch rhythm mates bassist Kenny Davis and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr. are rock solid.

With credit to mentors Kenny Barron and Don Thompson, Zadravec comes out hard swinging on the opener “The Nature Of All Things,” merges into a minimalist “Live!” with scat vocalist Dylan Bell, and adds an absolutely precious, extended version of Mal Waldron “Soul Eyes” All are highlights. Cameos come from Detroit trumpeter John Douglas and the renowned bassist Mike Pope. Zadravec himself is quite a capable, boldly inventive, and quick without being overwhelming, acoustic pianist, with loads of potential for a long-lasting career in this music.

Michael G Nastos is past SEMJA Vice President and founder, and writes for Hot House Jazz Magazine. He is also on the air at WCBN in Ann Arbor.