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Standards represent so many things. They can be a fallback for those short on ideas or a springboard for those willing to invest a bit of themselves into the music. They're a representative historical sampling of what jazz has been and done, reminding all of those on the bandstand of who and what came before, but they can be so much more. Considering all of that, it's hard to imagine why a segment of players often prefer not to address them at all.
Plenty of modernists have abandoned standards or choose to simply use them as garnish around their own dishes. Some are willing to buck the trend and do all-standards programs, but they often do so by making simple adjustments to the established formulas or retreating into the comfortable confines that these songs offer in their original state(s). Pianist Misha Tsiganov
does no such thing on The Artistry Of The Standard. Tsiganov pulls history in his direction, altering the shape and scope of these pieces without abandoning what made each one so special in the first place.
The Artistry Of The Standard marks the first time that Tsiganov has ever imagined and written a program with specific musicians in mind, and it's easy to see why he's so enthused about these men. Drummer Donald Edwards
's "Make Sure You're Sure." Sipiagin's muted trumpet work, Blake's beautiful tenor, and the leader's classy trappings all come together wonderfully on that one.
Many of these songs have come to define jazz for a certain segment of listeners, but they need not be viewed as sacrosanct vessels. A song, be it a standard or any other type, is simply source material, and it's up to the musicians to do with them as they please. That's where artistry comes into play when addressing the standards, and Tsiganov truly gets that.
Track Listing: Fall; Get Out Of Town; The Song Is You; Ah-LeuCha; This Is For Albert; Four On Six; Falling In Love; Mr. Day; Make Sure You're Sure.
Personnel: Misha Tsiganov: piano; Alex Sipiagin: trumpet, flugelhorn; Seamus Blake: tenor saxophone; Boris Kozlov: bass; Donald Edwards: drums.