JPF Music Awards:
AlmaNova "Debut" -Best Instrumental Album 2009
Almer Imamovic "Sarajevo Nights" -Best Instrumental Song 2009
Review of AlmaNova's "Debut"
by Carla Rees- MusicWeb-International.com
AlmaNova is a flute and guitar duo comprising Jessica Pierce and Almer Imamovic. It was formed during their studies at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. The folk-influenced music on this disc includes Imamovic’s arrangements of traditional Bosnian works and his own compositions. It is not clear from the sleeve-notes which are which, as there is no individual information about each track other than the listing on the back.
Sarajevo Nights is an upbeat track, with percussive definition and a florid flute melody. This track gives the disc a strong opening, well written for the instruments and allows both players to shine. The playing from both of these performers is idiomatic and immediately demands attention. Moj Golube is a moderately paced ballad with a lyrical melody given well chosen ornamentation. The opening of Uzeh Djugum I Mastrafu is hauntingly beautiful, with rich, dark flute tones heard over tremolo guitar. The mood lightens, and a poised dance follows. Theme for Carolyn moves through several changes of mood, with a simple melody line varied through the use of different accompaniment styles on the guitar. Scott’s Guitar is a beautifully performed solo for guitar, while Tapkalica is another fast, rhythmic track, with repeated melodic patterns building the momentum to a frenzy. La Nuit avec P.K. is another languid guitar solo which develops into a toccata-like dance with a punchy groove. The exotic Jamilla’s Dance has a dance of the seven veils quality to it, with Pierce’s seductive pitch-bends demanding attention. Dinner with JD features multi-tracked flutes in a piece which has a more western pop style - parts of this track reminded me of Kenny G - than the rest of the disc. The Bosnian roots return for the final track, Song for Marcus, in a fast-paced dance, which also features some multi-tracking.
This is an enjoyable disc which adds an interesting dimension to flute and guitar duo repertoire. These players are clearly passionate about their choice of repertoire, and Pierce makes excellent use of ornamentation in her playing to give a sense of drama to otherwise simple melodic lines. Both players have excellent technical control and they have a wonderful rapport as a duo.
© Carla Rees- MusicWeb-International.com
Review of AlmaNova's "Debut"
by Patrick Ragains, Minor 7th
Bosnian guitarist Almer Imamovic and flautist Jessica Pierce comprise AlmaNova. Imamovic composed and arranged all the selections on this disc, which reflect his love of sevdalinke, a Bosnian form of romantic song and dance. Pierce supplies warm, clear melodies and broadens the music's appeal. The opening track, "Sarajevo Nights," showcases Imamovic's strengths as a composer and player, featuring spirited rhythms and overdubbed single string lines. The next piece, "Moj Golube," is rhythmically more simple, but no less satisfying, as Pierce executes a lyrical melody, broken up by both solo and double-tracked guitars. Each piece is well developed in terms of melody, shifting tempos and dynamics, often with a more popular sound than one is accustomed to hearing from classical musicians. "Scott's Guitar" is a solo piece for Imamovic, continuing the romantic flavor of the program in a slower, more reflective setting. "Tapkalica" follows, with a pensive guitar introduction, followed by a fast section led by Pierce's flute. The duet takes time to fully develop each piece. Several tracks exceeding five minutes hold the listener's attention, thanks to the compositions, arrangements and flawless performances. I recommend this disc to casual listeners and musicians alike.
© Patrick Ragains- minor7th.com
"AlmaNova's Giuliani is some of the best I've heard."
-AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
“Flautist Jessica Pierce produces a most beautiful clear and pure tone, has impeccable intonation, and an idiomatic and stylish way of ornamenting the melodies”
-Pan - The Flute Magazine (The Journal of the British Flute Society)
“Imamovic wowed his listeners with an ageless virtuosity”
-Glendale News Press
"Excellent technique and virtuosity"
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
“Imamovic’s cadenzas were virtuosic masterpieces”
"American flutist, Jessica Pierce gave a ravishing performance at Nice's historic Cloitre de Nice"
"Mr. Imamovic left audiences stunned with his 10 magic fingers!"