Ivan Bonačić – Dream Aviary LP (Geenger Records)

Ivan Bonačić - Dream Aviary LP - Geenger Records

I admit I am a bit late to the party with this one. It’s been a while since Geenger Records announced and released a new masterpiece by Ivan Bonačić, but better to write something about it late than never. Years have passed since I had a chance to review Kraken, a debut full-length by this exceptional Croatian jazz saxophonist. I remember being blown away by his musicianship, ideas, creativity, and how jazz takes a whole other shape under his supervision. Of course, the remainder of his band also operates as a singular mechanism, and I still firmly believe Kraken is one of the best contemporary jazz records in the region.

Five years later, Ivan Bonačić brings another tremendous recording for all those listeners who truly appreciate jazz music. Some vinyl purists would probably classify Dream Aviary as an extended play release, but its longevous compositions defy that categorization. The only important thing about this material is that it’s a regional jazz masterpiece wrapped with brilliant ideas, unbounded creativity, exceptional musicianship, catchy virtuosities, and cathartic ambiance. If you followed Bonačić’s work for years, those are things you might expect, but somehow, he always finds crazy, mysterious ways to surprise his listeners. After all, that’s the beauty of jazz music, isn’t it? You can always expect the unexpected. The element of surprise is one of the virtues of this genre, and besides exceptional musicianship, it plays a significant role in shaping the sound.

Well, how Dream Aviary differs compared to Kraken, you might ask? If you come up with that question in your mind, you’ll not find any differences, but there are actually plenty of them. The first and foremost thing is obviously the sound. While Kraken had that warmer late sixties to mid-seventies production, Dream Aviary offers much better, crispy, crystal clear production that really pushes all the instruments to the peak of their performance. Perhaps you’ll experience a much warmer sound while listening to Dream Aviary on vinyl, but this album will still sound cleaner than Kraken. It all depends on what you prefer, but I would unquestionably go with the vinyl version because it will always resonate better than digital sound on streaming services.

Soundwise, Bonačić showcases all his ideas, creativity, experience, knowledge, and understanding of jazz music through six excellent compositions. I hate comparing jazz musicians, but Dream Aviary resonates in the same mood as some of the greatest US jazz recordings. Many renowned musicians come to mind while listening to these numbers, but you will have difficulties in picking who inspired Bonačić the most. The best part about this material is that no matter if you’re paying close attention while listening or you play this vinyl as background music while chatting with friends, it sounds equally good in both cases. Ivan Bonačić and the accompanying band put a lot of effort, and that’s hearable in each number. Also, with great assurance, I can only state this is probably one of the best Geenger Records releases this year. Head over to the Geenger web store for more information about ordering this masterpiece.

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