Butterflies and Zebras by Ditmas Quartet
  • Eva Novoa Eva Novoa
  • Michaël Attias Michaël Attias
  • Max Johnson Max Johnson
  • Jeff Davis Jeff Davis

Eva Novoa

Butterflies and Zebras by Ditmas Quartet

Fresh Sound New Talent

Eva Novoa (p, Rhodes), Michaël Attias (as), Max Johnson (b), Jeff Davis (d)

Reference: FSNT-492

Bar code: 8427328424929

"Listening again to this album as I sit and write this a mere neighborhood away from the one with which this quartet shares a name, I think again of the staggering number of inventive musicians based in or closely associated with Brooklyn. For most musicians here this is beyond a cliche in 2015. Yet, as I spend roughly half the year playing music outside of Brooklyn it occurs to me that while devotees of creative music / improvisation / etc might have a surface-level notion about this, the true extent of this only reveals itself after one spends significant time spent here, and even then still only to a fractional extent. I imagine trying to play once a year with every musician around here who is either a friend, acquaintance, or someone I admire, and I'm not sure how I'd do it.

Michaël, Max, and Jeff are three of those friends with whom I am fortunate to play and they're pretty appropriately matched here, as I know all of them as irrepressibly and indefatigably creative; this recording definitely confirms that. Eva and I met years ago when we both were beginning to make our own inroads here. We've both since found ourselves enveloped by this community. Her playing and musical direction on this record establish an atmosphere of fecundity.

Not all the music made in these neighborhoods sounds like this. It's a particularly apropos fuse, though. Thanks for listening".

-Matt Mitchell, Brooklyn, 27 November 2015
[From the inside liner notes]

01. Spicy Water (Jeff Davis) 5:36
02. The Drone (Eva Novoa) 7:56
03. No Direction (Max Johnson) 6:43
04. Justin (Jeff Davis) 4:47
05. Pre-Nerve Scale (Michaël Attias) 5:44
06. Jack Nicholson (Eva Novoa) 3:07
07. Coffee Stain (Eva Novoa) 7:51
08. Chinese Shingles (Eva Novoa) 4:46
09. La Part Maudite (Michaël Attias) 6:49
10. For Jeff (Eva Novoa) 7:58

Total time: 61:00 min. approx.

Eva Novoa (piano, Fender Rhodes on #3 & 8), Michaël Attias (alto sax), Max Johnson (bass), Jeff Davis (drums).
Recorded at Sear Sound Studio, New York City, June 2015

Sound engineer: Amandine Pras
Mixed & mastered by Jeremy Loucas
Illustration & design by Valerie Trucchia

Produced by Eva Novoa

Executive producer: Jordi Pujol


"On her striking new album, pianist-composer Eva Novoa, aided and abetted by quartet members (Michaël Attias on alto saxophone, Max Johnson on bass and Jeff Davis on drums), offers up further evidence of the current surge of creative energy coming out of Brooklyn. This is a shining example of 21st-century contemporary jazz, balancing individual spotlighted glories with a strong ensemble identity.

Opening with a sturdy declaration of sound and intent, the record begins in an emphatic yet slippery way, with the snaky Ornette-esque melody of Davis’ tune “Spicy Water.” On that tune and beyond, Attias’ alto—adroit and art-ful—serves as a potent voice. Elsewhere, he shows solid, curiosity-fueled impulses on the aptly nerve-buzzing “Pre-Nerve Scale” and the angular “La Part Maudite.”

A bold and restless pianist, moving easilybetween acute precision and painterly fervor, Novoa is also in command of compositional strategies, conveying a discernible creative voice. Half the album consists of her originals: The quasi-minimalist piece “The Drone,” built on a hypnotically looping cascade of lines, contrasts with the short, punch-drunk shuffle “Jack Nicholson” and the Carla Bley-ish ballad “Coffee Stain.”

Looping back around to the cohesive group at hand, the album closes with a shout-out from the pianist-leader to the drummer. “For Jeff” is a fairly mesmerizing, slow-growing crescendo of a tune. Clearly, this is a band—and a record—to bend an ear toward.

Josef Woodard –Down Beat August 2016

"Here’s an intriguing album that either answers the question, or at least delivers it; what if Thelonious Monk went left of center later in his career and embraced free jazz? The team of Eva Novoa/p-key, Michael Attias/as, Max Johnson/b and Jeff Davis/dr mix the angular mirth and melodious instincts of the Spherical one with a prismatic approach to delivery.

There are pieces such as the tricky but incessantly swinging “Spicy Water” that have hints of the sharp edges of a Monk tune such as “Brilliant Corners” with Attias and Novoa weaving in and out of the melody like Fiats in Naples. Novoa’s ectomorphic touch is both explorative, extrapolating and exciting as she and Attias’ pungent alto appear like a rolling ball of yarn that slowly unravels downhill and somehow rewinds on “The Drone” and the frenetic “Pre-Nerve Scale.” There’s also fun and buoyant grooves as Johnson and Davis snap like celery sticks on the hiply swinging “Jack Nicholson” and the playful “Justin” and the team frees up under Novoa’s ivories during the G forces of “La Part Maudite.” The last Monk mood is his underappreciated solemnity, and it is reflected here during Novoa’s shadow casting with the Rhodes keyboard on “No Direction” as Attias draws the curtains with his eerie reed.

A real original approach to freeing up bebop while still retaining its core Sphere."

George W. Harris (February 29, 2016)


$11.94  (tax incl.)

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