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The first time I heard Alexey Nikolaev perform (last year at the Hopvine Pub with Kareem Kandi) I was knocked out by his big tenor sound and his willingness to take chances with the music. Employing a huge note range and complete control of his instrument, Nikolaev's solos were show-stoppers; they never failed to get a rise out of the audience. And, while some may consider the constant display of musical pyrotechnics too flashy, such solos are fun to listen to, if for no other reason than to wonder, 'How in the world did he do that?'
Since that first night at the Hopvine, I've caught Alexey playing jazz with Jay Thomas' big band, Greg Williamson's quartet and Gary Fukushima's trio ' and I've enjoyed hearing him in each setting. The word on his talent as a saxophonist has spread quickly among the music community, resulting in jobs doing studio work and teaching lessons. A permanent member of Doctor Funk , Alexey Nikolaev can also be heard most Monday nights performing with Reggie Goings at the Mister Lucky club across from Key Arena.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.