Consummate bassist Peter Slavov has released his seminal recording as a bandleader, Little Stories. Over the past two decades, Slavov has made a career out of being one of the most-called sidemen in the industry, having worked across the globe with artists such as Joe Lovano, Quincy Jones, Alfredo Rodriguez and Elio Villafranca. This great journey of musical growth and exploration is chronicled by the compositions that Slavov created throughout its duration; the compositions that make up the tracks of Little Stories. Alongside Slavov, the album boasts a personnel of masterful players including saxophonist John Ellis, clarinetist Mark Small, saxophonist Matt Marantz, pianist Dan Kaufman, pianist Nitzan Gavrieli, drummer Mark McClean, drummer Diego Ramirez, vocalist Mi Kim, guitarist Marcio Philomena, violinist Entcho Todorov, violinist Patti Killroy, violist Jen Herman, cellist Yves Dharamraj and cellist Adele Stein.
Dedicated to the memory of the artist’s father, Peter Slavov Sr., this album is a poignant document of the remembrance and the pain attributed with loss. Slavov’s debut album explores pivotal points in the life of the master bassist and composer. According to the artist, “Little Stories is mostly a collection of music I’ve written through the years since I came to the U.S to study at Berklee. So, I’d say it’s been 20 years in the making!”
Slavov notes that every tune on the album comes with a little story from his past, the Bulgarian-born bassist often tells these stories (chronicled in the album’s liner notes) to audiences at his performances, as a means of engaging the audience with insight into his own personal ties to each piece. These ‘little stories’ weave together to tell a larger tale with themes of reminiscence and wonder.
On tracks such as “Photos” and “AM”, the composer laments about his nostalgia for his home country of Bulgaria. Slavov notes, “I think that what I miss the most is a place in time; a past that from the distance of time seems beautiful and calm. I’m not sure how real it is but it’s in my thoughts so it does exist on at least a certain level.”
Slavov employs a variety of different instrumentation to tell his story, from a traditional jazz piano trio, to a trio expanded with a string quartet, with the addition of bass clarinet and vocals on specific tracks. The stellar interplay of the musicians on this release is evidence of a long fruitful, collaborative relationship between the players and the bandleader.
Portrayed in the sonic medium, this collection of deeply personal stories offers audiences a glimpse into the mind of an extraordinary musician. From the death of the composer’s father, to his immigrant experience in the United States, Little Stories gives audiences both light-heartedness and heartache explored with harmonic intrigue and soulful melodic invention.