Thursday 18 November 2021

'Shapes and Stories' by Milena Jancuric

'Shapes and Stories' is the new album release from flautist Milena Jancuric available through Italy's A.MA Records.

Born in Novi Sad, Serbia, Jancuric's adventures in music have taken her to all corners of the globe - from having studied at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade and the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Jancuric has graced stages within the US, Panama, France, Italy, Israel, Germany, Serbia and Croatia amongst several others.  Initially drawn to performance through her affection for classical music compositions, an appreciation for jazz would soon follow affording Jancuric the opportunity to assume more creative control of her music through concepts like free improvisation and varying arrangements and ensembles.

'Shapes and Stories' is an album demonstrative of Jancuric's immeasurable talent - from her world class ability as a performer to also serving as the project's producer and composer - the flautist masterfully uses the opportunity to solidify herself as an accomplished and, frankly, brilliant artist.

A.MA Records' ability to continually unveil extraordinary talent never ceases to amaze.  In fact, it was Jancuric's star turn on another A.MA Records release - the exquisite 'Ascension' by the phenomenal saxophonist and vocalist Sanja Markovic - that brought Jancuric to the label's attention.  Boasting a real passion for collaboration, Milena is able to realise her project's musical vision for 'Shapes and Stories' with the assistance of some fantastic players including pianist Aleksandar Dujin, drummer Petar Radmilovic, bassist Ervin Malina, saxophonist Milan Jancuric, Lazar Novkov on accordion and vocalist Aleksandra Denda.  

The music across the album's seven tracks are meticulous and multi-layered.  While highlights include the sublime 'Dreams in You' and the stirring 'Don't Fall Me Fall', the stunning performances on the opening number 'Purple Shoes Steps' may very well be the star that shines brightest as it beautifully traverses numerous twists and turns throughout its near ten glorious minutes.

Kurt Vonnegut once described his greatest gift to the literary world as his assessment of shapes within stories.  To surmise Vonnegut's more scientific and detailed assessment, the American writer had analysed the ebbs and flows and the tumultuous journey of each narrative delivering something of a visual representation to Joseph Campbell's depiction of the hero's journey, if you will.

Milena Jancuric has created a project very much respectful towards this methodology, however, 'Shapes and Stories' is a project that is significantly less scientific and more representative of a serendipitous piece of art.  If Vonnegut had any specific shapes in his mind that all stories would fall into then Jancuric's role is to completely reinvent those templates while taking listeners on this incredible journey of soaring highs, poignant moments of reflection and treasured intimacy delivering something wholly distinctive and unique.

Not only is the debut album by Milena Jancuric a stunning and ambitious piece of work... it also tells a magnificent story!

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