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CD Review:

Marin Nasturica

Jazz & Romance
with Michel Donato, Double Bass
and the Simon Leclerc Orchestra


Charlie Garnett: Cherokee
Michel Legrand: Must Believe in Spring
Joseph Kosma: Autumn Leaves
Jerome Kern: All the Things You Are
Marin Nasturica: My Love
Wolfgand A. Mozart: Fugue
Maurice Larcange: Boite a Frissons
Johann S. Bach: Aria
Marin Nasturica: Le Saison de L'Amour
Sergei Rachmaninov: Prelude
Niccolo Paganini: Moto Perpetuo
Frederic Chopin: Fantaisie - Impromptu Op. 66

Total Time: 46:02
Released in 1995

Label: Disques ATMA Records (AGCD 22105)

Order from: 6242, rue Durocher
Bureau 101
Outremont, Quebec H2V 3Y8
tel: 514-270-9444

Review by Henry Doktorski:

Romanian born Marin Nasturica exhibits his refined taste and virtuosic technique on this (his second) album which consists of favorite jazz classics and jazzed-up classical favorites. The arrangements by the well-known Montreal orchestra leader Simon Leclerc are fabulous, and the orchestra, consisting of piano, guitar, double bass, drums, flute, harp, four french horns, five violins, two violas, three cellos, and a stunning SATB vocal quartet, plays beautifully under Leclerc's direction.

The sound is exceptional and the balance between accordion and orchestra is superb. Although the accordion is the featured solo instrument throughout the album, interest is maintained by giving many solos to the other orchestra members. Of special regard is the jazz vocal quartet solo in "Cherokee," the double bass solo in "Autumn Leaves" and the piano licks in "Aria."

The light classical pieces also deserve mention; normally I don't like "arrangements," of serious classical pieces by great masters like Bach, Mozart, Chopin, etc. (A tacky 1970s disco version of Beethoven's 5th Symphony comes to mind.)

But Nasturica and Leclerc have taste and respect for music - both are classically trained - and I found myself enjoying their adaptations immensely, despite my "high-brow" preconceptions. The lively jazz version of Bach's famous "Aria" from the Orchestral Suite in D, arranged for accordion, piano and drums is exceptional, as is the quartet for four accordions (overdubbed by Mr. Nasturica in the studio) in "Fugue."

Nasturica shows off his talents as a composer in "My Love" and "Fifth Season of Love." The former, a melancholy waltz in the old-world European tradition, reveals his Romanian roots, while the latter, an incredibly beautiful romance, deserves to be the theme for a hit movie soundtrack.

Eight pieces with the Leclerc Orchestra were recorded in Montreal in 1988 and the remaining four pieces with an unidentified orchestra were recorded in Romania in 1976. Of the Romanian recordings, the Rachmaninov "Prelude" and the Paganini "Moto Perpetuo" are unusual; in these tracks Nasturica plays an electronic organ/accordion manufactured by Giulietti.

Although the twenty-year-old Romanian recordings are generally not of the same high sound quality as the more recent Montreal recordings, they are just as full of life and enthusiasm.

One thing is certain: Marin Nasturica excels in jazz, and jazz is his element. I recommend "Jazz & Romance" for all jazz lovers.

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