Russian-born pianist/composer Misha Tsiganov is one of many emigrated jazzmen who have come to make their fame and fortune in the United States. Born in St. Petersburg and playing piano by the age of six, Tsiganov was invited to record an album in 1989, and by 1991 had relocated to Boston, studying at the Berklee School of Music with vibraphonist Gary Burton two years later.
Today, Tsiganov maintains several musical connections including holding down a long-standing gig with the Norman Hedman group, Tropique, along with his brother, vibraphonist Alexei. His own quintet, which consists of three Russians, is featured on his first solo recording, Always Going West. The quintet serves as an outlet for the pianist's music and the talents of his ensemble. Trumpeter Alex Sipiagin is given most of the melody statements, and the first three compositions are bright bebop tunes. Sipiagin does get to lay out on the pianist's attractive ballad "Waltz For Olena" but on the closing composition, "Gone From My Mind," provides a beautifully burnished trumpet.
Sipiagin saves his best for "Say Where You've Gone," on which his solo is long and driving until Tsiganov picks up the musical baton and raises the bar even higher with his dazzling bebop style. All of the tunes are Tsiganov originals with the exception of the Russian folk song "Dark Eyes," which is prefaced by a three-minute percussion solo from Samuel Torres.
Personnel: Misha Tsiganov: piano; Alex Sipiagin: trumpet, flugelhorn; Boris Kozlov: bass: Gene Jackson: drums; Samuel Torres: cajon, shaker, caxixi, djembe, congas, udu, EFX.