|The George Mraz- Camilla Mraz Trio
The greatest and most important art in our world shines a light into both the brighter and dark parts of the human heart. Two of the most creative and compelling world class virtuosos and composers of our time -- George Mraz and Camilla Mraz -- have joined forces to create truly remarkable sound tracks which somehow manage both to deeply support and greatly enhance the special (mostly short) film projects they work with.
Forceful and evocative, Return to Imagination is an ambitious, medium-bridging project that features world-class, husband-and-wife musicians George and Camilla Mraz sharing a stage for the first time in their career. Together with Anthony Pinciotti, a stellar drummer and percussionist, they bring forth an expression of unique artistry, in a concert that combines the trio’s own compositions with a demonstration of live film scoring.
In “Wisteria”, George opens with a powerful, profoundly introspective solo after which his instrument graciously introduces Camilla’s deeply lyrical piano and Pinciotti’s vivid and visceral percussion. Their chemistry creates an organic sound, evoking a feeling of honesty and intimacy. “Sad History”, a 2001 composition written for film, reveals Camilla’s talent for eloquent songwriting as well as her innate understanding of emotion and descriptive timing, with Pinciotti’s characteristically impassioned solo adding dynamic depth.
Written in 1979 for George’s daughter, “Blues for Sarka” is a stunning and dramatic piece with a very cohesive narrative, as the musicians play off each other with the brilliance of masterful storytellers. “Three Silver Hairs”, a dark and melancholy tune of impressive descriptive complexity and prefaced by a haunting percussion segment, allows the musicians the greatest freedom of individual expression while in “Sponge Magic” George’s solo intro sets the tone for another intricate composition where the trio effortlessly and expertly transitions between tension and calmness. “Pebbles” was recorded for ECM, and was initially released on John Abercrombie’s M in 1980. With the band’s intuitive interplay, it’s small wonder that the tune retains the distinctive aura of otherworldliness - the legendary ECM sound even in absence of the guitar.
Unfolding from pre-composed themes, the improvised soundtrack to Steve Lichtag’s highly acclaimed Dance of the Blue Angels doesn’t merely accompany the short film. Instead, it augments the Czech director’s work, adding a new expressive dimension, creating, in effect, a new artistic entity. The sounds convey motion and color, while individual scenes are granted a harmonious, meditative quality in a supremely synesthetic experience. The pensive depth of George’s bass, carrying the timeworn wisdom of the instrument, compliments the lyrical, fluid and dreamlike quality of Camilla’s piano, while drummer Pinciotti skillfully offers the reverberating canvas on which the two spouses paint their musical ode to Lichtag’s touching motion picture.
With thoughtful compositions and virtuous improvisations, Return to Imagination is exactly as the name suggests: imaginative, daring ethereal.
Andrei Cherascu, The Music and Myth