The victim of corporate disregard for an artist's work, pianist David Kikoski has recorded many records as a leader over the years, although all but his most recent string of releases for Criss Cross are currently unavailable. This fact, along with his extensive work as a sideman, meant that until 1998's Inner Trust, few were aware of Kiksoki's talents as a leader. Reaching a pinnacle on his previous set, Surf's Up, Kikoski has honed a particularly incisive musical relationship with drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts which is no less palpable on Combinations. This time out, we also get to hear Seamus Blake return to the fold on two of the nine pieces, all written by Kikoski.
The premise for Combinations is simply stated by the album title, Kikoski engaging in different sized ensemble combinations taken from the pool of musicians on hand. There are two duo tracks with only the pianist and bassist Boris Kozlov as the leads. Aside from a brief bass interlude and the pair of quartet tracks with Blake, the remaining cuts feature the trioand it's a potent one, capable of great flights of fancy be it on the blues or more advanced forms. While it might be said that we have somewhat of a mixed bag here taken as a whole, the majority of the individual parts are distinctive enough to merit attention.
Track Listing: Improvisations, Cecilia, Duo Part 1, Bass Interlude, Tamami, Harmonizing Instincts, Blues For Us,
Duo Part 2, Trio Improvisation.
Personnel: David Kikoski: piano; Boris Kozlov: bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts: drums; Seamus Blake: tenor sax (2, 6).
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.