Mai Agan is a young Latvian electric bass guitar player and (as far as I’ve heard) jazz composer.
That’s rather dry, for an artist coming up with a debut album I definitely consider worth buying (I did).
Is she the next Jeff Berlin or Jaco Pastorius? No… but then again, who is? She is not an intimidating bass guitar pyrotechnician; her playing is definitely up to the job and her execution is precise and impeccable, but if you’re a bass player yourself, her playing is not intimidating to the point that, after hearing her work, you decide to sell your setup and take up gardening.
But that’s not the point. The things she does, while it may not make you think “I couldn’t do that”, might well make you think “Jeez, I’d like to have come up with that”. More than anything, she is a musician, not a bass player.
So, what sort of music are we on about on this album called Luv? OK, I don’t like the title, but then again, I am old enough to have her be my youngest daughter of three, so I am of the generation that spells “love” rather than “luv”.
This is mainly cool jazz… most of the tracks are as cool as you can get it. If, like me, you like to reside in the Allan Holdsworth solar system, think “None too soon”. If you are my age or a bit older, think Dave Brubeck quartet – that kind of cool jazz. As cool jazz comes, this is highly romantic cool jazz.
There are a few more energetic, fusion-like tracks too, but the main atmosphere is laid-back, melodic, atmospheric.
The middle section of the last track (titled 362) seriously channels Allan Holdsworth – not the Allan Holdsworth of the solos in Devil Take The Hindmost or Zarabeth, but the Allan Holdsworth in the opening section of Above and Below. I detected more Holdsworth hints in this album… which apparently rings a bell because Mai as well as a couple members of her band are ardent Holdsworth fans – but it does definitely not rub off to the point where they are trying to replicate him (except for that middle section of 362, which is probably more of a tribute than an attempt to copy).
I need to do more listening to this before I can form a decent opinion… but don’t wait up; just get your own opinion.
I would strongly suggest that, if the above description seems like your cup of tea, you take a listen yourself on Mai’s web site. In the left-hand menu is this album on Bandcamp. Pay for it and you get access to all available download formats, including FLAC, which, on my Sony ES cd player, proves to be an excellent, dry, moody, atmospheric recording, doing justice to the music.