One of Saeed Veshveshadi’s many strengths on his debut album “Verge”, is his creative versatility – he doesn’t do just one thing – even in the same track. And here, what you hear is less an element of production, as is the case with the work of many contemporary or fusion jazz releases these days, and more an element of inspiration, expression, and interpretation. It’s all outstandingly played and interpreted. No note, no beat, no voicing is misplaced. Saeed Veshveshadi is a 29 year old, composer and guitarist from Iran, who lives and studies jazz guitar in Vienna, Austria.
The nine diligent and expressive tracks that make up the album, are born out of Saeed’s life experiences during the almost two catastrophic years the pandemic has imposed on the world. Hence the musical pieces here are deeply introspective, meticulously considered, and percipient. In this album, Saeed Veshveshadi’s guitar virtuosity, manifests itself, not in how many notes he can squeeze into a bar, but rather which notes fit best, in service of the song.
In just five minutes, in the opening title track, “Verge”, Saeed already proves his talent in writing highly engaging music with charming atmosphere. Of course the album will continue, with more dynamic parts alternating with a rich guitar sections, and more complex melodies, but the opening song offers a realistic picture of what Saeed Veshveshadi can do, and frames well the style of the whole album.
“Verge” is one of those albums where the sound is always cohesive throughout the tracks, but every one of them is easily recognizable due to the complex but melodious chord progressions, and obviously, to the nuanced phrasings by Saeed Veshveshadi, whose playing is not only interesting but also accessible in melody. This seems to be one of Saeed’s prerogatives; he rarely shows off all of his technicality, preferring to write well-constructed melodic motifs that are also stimulating from a theoretical point of view.
“Lut” immediately takes us into those aforementioned, stimulating progressions with an extremely dynamic arrangement. Describing “Mirage” and “Bluish” is like describing a rich and beautiful landscape. There are many different textures and colors as well as engaging sounds. The pacing of these tracks are very gentle and careful – even in the more rhythmical section of “Bluish”– almost ambient in their purest form.
As the album moves forward, the diverse melodies weave majestically, subtly delicate one minute, powerful and vibrant the next, but never overwhelming at any time. “Pollyanna” brings a harmonious bliss, and Saeed’s echoing guitar. “Pals” ups the rhythmic ante with an insistent beat and a more boisterous, surefooted lead guitar motif. The album is to a great extent like a narrative or an adventure. Motifs are used throughout the pieces to give them a discernible theme.
The last part of the album focuses a lot more on all the facets of Saeed Veshveshadi’s guitar prowess, which come through loud and clear on “Amorph” and “Nested”, before closing with “Dissolving”. All-round, the instrumentation is extremely skilled, with a series of excellent guitar leads, piano, bass lines and drums present, together with a great deal of creative competence and thought being used.
Realistically, this is a very hard album to fault. Thanks to the almost symphonic nature of this recording, the album is complex enough for repeated listens that will always reveal something new, as you unfold each track in your mind. The accessibility, combined with the technique, and the expressivity, makes “Verge” an infectious listen for every kind of ear.
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