Sergey Kuryokhin: The Ways of Freedom
Kuryokhin's style owes as much debt to Bartok and Stravinsky as it does to Monk and Taylor. On The Ways of Freedom, the pianist obsesses with tone and counterpoint. Improvised bass lines snake and curl their way around staccato chords, erupting into rapid-fire explosions of clustered energy. Kuryokhin spends quite a bit of time with "extended techniques": playing inside the piano, utilizing the instrument for raw percussion, and exploring unusual textures and tonalities. During moments of quiet, he plays the piano like a gong, allowing sound waves to wash all over the instrumentand then, in a twist of ironic energy, he'll tear off into another direction. Most of the record, outside these brief periods of reflection, tends toward a staccato, rippling sound.
What's most exciting about The Ways of Freedom is Kuryokhin's very spontaneous development of opposing themes. One hand might arpeggiate dissonant chords while the other leaps into a singing melody... and then, gradually, the two paths merge into a pulsing, charged entity. The level of intellectual detail here strongly suggests the inner architecture of Monk and especially Taylor, but Kuryokhin makes much more deliberate use of space, and he almost never engages in swinging rhythm. His harmonic progressions resemble classical music more than they do jazz. Very few pianists have such a distinctive styleperhaps all that time spent behind the Iron Curtain did some good after all...
Track Listing: Theory and Practice; The Wall; The Rules of the Game; Archipelago; No Exit; The Inner Fear; The Other Way; The Great Escape; Fresh Air; New Dawn.
Personnel: Sergey Kuryokhin: solo piano.
Record Label: Golden Years of New Jazz
Style: Modern Jazz