How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Listening to Russian-born bassist/composer Ruslan Khain's music is like taking a step back in time to the spirited, swinging glory days of hard-bop in the 1950s and '60s. The New York-based musician's debut as a leader, Tie It In, pays homage to the classic sounds of legendary ensembles led by Horace Silver, Art Blakey and Benny Golson.
The session, comprised entirely of Khain originals, showcases slick ensemble writing with a definite nod towards tradition. The bassist composes hard-swinging tunes with memorable melodies over a familiar harmonic landscape.
As demonstrated on the medium-tempo "Chambers Street," Khain's bass playing is heavily influenced by the late Paul Chambers, incorporating a strong melodic sense with a robust, wood-heavy tone. He walks tirelessly with soul and inventiveness on "My Angel and Agent," "Queen-Cident" and the Lee Morgan inspired "Last Night."
The disc's front-line horn section is comprised of trumpeter Yoshiro Okazaki, tenor saxophonist Dimitri Moderbacher and trombonist Josh Brown. All three are top-notch soloists well-versed in bebop vernacular, and sensitive to the tight ensemble tradition displayed in Khain's writing. Rounding out the rhythm section, pianist Richard Clements and drummer Phil Stewart are instep with Khain all the way.
With dynamic soloing, sound arrangements and stylistic sincerity, Tie It In succeeds as a solid outing from a determined voice on the jazz scene.
Track Listing: Track listing: My Angel And Agent; Chambers Street; Queen-Cident; Igna; Virus; Zohio; Mackinac Island; Last
Personnel: Ruslan Khain: bass; Yoshiro Okazaki: trumpet, flugelhorn (5); Dmitri Moderbacher: tenor saxophone; Josh
Brown: trombone; Richard Clements: piano; Phil Stewart: drums; Ilya Lushtak: guitar (7).