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Nick Levinovsky Sextet: Kind of Red

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Although the program appears to be made up of individual compositions, in fact they are all part of a suite which depicts various aspects of composer, pianist Nick Levinovsky's life experiences. Regrettably, in his liner notes, Mr. Levinovsky is quite vague about what these experiences might be. But we know that he emigrated from the former Soviet Union and one assume this music reflects what he faced there and thefforts he made to get to the United States. All the music on this CD is composed by Levinovsky, except for Chick Corea's "Blues for Liebestraum" included to commemorate the time Levinovsky spent with Corea in Moscow.

The events apparently described by the intense first movement are the clearest in the suite. "Kind of Red" describes hard times in the former U.S.S.R such as persecution, the terrible gulags and other deprivations. The piano creates a sense of agitation which Conrad Herwig's trombone tries to modify with a calmer tone. However, whatever position the piano was taking wins out and Herwig's trombone becomes even more upset than Levinovsky's piano. "It Was Then" moves on to calmer times, either because things were getting better in Russia or there was a feeling of resignation, a greater acceptance of the situation. Kathy Jenkins' (Mrs. Levinovsky) wordless vocalizing adds an aura of haunting melancholy. And on it goes, with each part of the suite showing a bit more greater optimism than its predecessor. By the time we get to "Tale" things are looking up. I am surmising that perhaps this movement depicts Levinovsky's move to Moscow where he set up a popular jazz group after the political ice was broken and jazz was rescued from oblivion and the underground. There is a decidedly jazzier ambience surrounding this movement than anything heard up to that point.

Most of the above is my interpretation of the music. Get the album and make your own conclusions or buy it for the good music and excellent performances.

Tracks:Nick Levinovsky - Piano, Keyboards, Leader; Seamus Blake - Tenor and Soprano Saxophone; Alex Sipiagin - Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Conrad Herwig - Trombone; Boris Koslov - Acoustic and Electric Bass; Gene Jackson - Drums; Kathy Jenkins - Vocals

Record Label: NLO Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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