Eugene Maslov: The Fuse Is Lit (2003)
This is the third album I’ve reviewed by Russian-born jazz artist Eugene Maslov, and I’ve yet to be disappointed.
Maslov, a classically trained pianist who swings, has technique to spare and a talent for split- second decision-making that never lets him down. Whatever the path, he’s always walking in the right direction. And walking is what he does best and most often on The Fuse Is Lit, eloquently interpreting half a dozen of his own compositions, the standards “One for My Baby” and “The Masquerade Is Over” and John Lewis’s haunting eulogy to the renowned gypsy guitarist, “Django.”
As on his most recent album, The Face of Love, Maslov invites some friends to sit in. Tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb blows hot on Maslov’s “Guru” and “Entente,” flautist Hubert Laws on those two and another of Maslov’s compositions, the mellow “Dream of Dreams.” Drummer Joe LaBarbera replaces Vinnie Colaiuta on “Sometime, Somewhere, Somehow . . .,” “Django” and “Masquerade,” but one can scarcely notice the difference, as both he and Colaiuta are talented accompanists with only one solo between them, LaBarbera’s on “Masquerade.” Maslov, who plays the last number, “One for My Baby,” by himself, is a competent writer, but the most agreeable tracks (to me) are the others, “Baby,” “Masquerade” and “Django.” Perhaps familiarity actually breeds fondness. Certainly Maslov plays well throughout, as do Colaiuta, bassist Boris Koslov and their guests.
This is another feather in Maslov’s cap, and a fairly accurate measure of his continuing growth as a Jazz artist, which is quite impressive, to say the least.
Contact: Mack Avenue Records, www.mackaverecords.com
Track Listing: To My Teacher / To My Friend; Dream of Dreams / Sometime, Somewhere, Somehow . . .; Guru; The Witch (Baba-Yaga); Django; The Masquerade Is Over; Entente; One for My Baby (and One More for the Road) (57:53).
Personnel: Eugene Maslov, piano; Boris Kozlov, bass; Vinnie Colaiuta, Joe LaBarbera (3, 6, 7), drums; Hubert Laws (2, 4, 8), flute; Pete Christlieb (4, 8), tenor sax.