Magazine Music, May 2013.

Magazine Music, May 2013.

“I listened to MaiGroup’s debut album and thought: indeed, there are always good musicians coming from Saaremaa, Tiit Paulus school. One that has emerged vigorously in recent years is Mai Agan. Like many of our jazz youth, he has studied in Scandinavia, first at the Skurup Music School, then at the Stockholm Music Academy. It was in Skurup’s time that the band, which we now know as MaiGroup, came together. Is it more Estonian or Swedish stuff? A little one, a little another and maybe something third. The language of jazz is a universal lingua franca, and in this type of jazz we cannot speak of nationality or exoticism, but only of the peculiarities of the personality of the creators.

Listening to great bass, we are used to the demonstration of virtuosity, where the bass player’s self comes to the fore. However, the content and message of MaiGroup’s record turn out to be more important, and Mai Agan lets the whole band breathe. When I once conducted a small poll among the most important Estonian jazz bassists, Mai replied that instead of soloing, she actually prefers to “quietly do her thing next to the drummer, being unforgettable for those who share something about it”.

The slightly retro style of the record design is even a bit in line with the first impressions that appeared during the listening. Being new and fresh, the album’s aesthetic starting point seems to be at least partly driven by decades of fusion ‘ist. It is both feminine and masculine, and whoever seeks to find different levels of emotional scale. And although the songs do not “haunt” due to their compositional complexity, there are so many memorable grooves on the record. I personally especially like the fourth track of the album “Lost and Found”. ( Ivo Heinloo, jazz critic)

Mathew Tucker