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 it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.