Vershki da Koreshki: Real Life of Plants

There’s nothing particularly secret about the wittily monikered Real Life of Plants (Shanachie 64099; 72:22), by the group calling itself Vershki da Koreshki (Roots and Leaves). The group is what it is, an unorthodox merger of musicians from hither and yon, culling their gifts and enthusiasms and creating a border-crossing crossover sound not quite like anything we’ve heard before. Why bring together jazz and classically-oriented Russians-the fine, flexible pianist (and accordionist and et cetera) Alexei Levin and bassist Vladimir Volkov-with Senegalese vocalist/ instrumentalist Mola Sylla and Tuvan throat vocalist/instrumentalist Kaigal-Ool Khovalyg (of Huun Huur-To fame)? Why not? As this album shows, the meeting works aesthetically, by the strength of creative will, individually and, in the end, collectively. They seem to get along famously, despite their divergent vocabularies. Or maybe because of them.