Relocating to New York City from Russia in the early '90s, pianist Misha Tsiganov extended his studies at the Berklee College of Music and has since gained steam as a solo artist, session ace and TV composer, among other projects. With prominent Russian artists including bassist/Grammy Award-winner Boris Kozlov and trumpeter Alex Sipiagin also calling The Big Apple home, Tsiganov's band abides by a no-nonsense, '60s-era Blue Note campaign via these tightly arranged works, designed with alternating flows, hard-hitting rhythms and memorable storylines. Indeed, they pack a punch as Tsiganov darts around the rhythmic element with animated, and climactically articulated solo spots. The musicians rise to the occasion, but intersperse a broad tonal plane with understated nuances and trickling delicacies.
Tenor sax ace Donny McCaslin and first-call drummer Gene Jackson comprise the American contingent and help temper the flow with Tsiganov's ode to sax great Wayne Shorter on "Long Shorter." Here, the soloists' extract Shorter's ballad-based warmth and intrinsic soulfulness. With elongated melodies and spikes in the overall pitch, the leader's thoughtful phrasings and flailing single note runs help anchor the primary theme, leading to expansion and the frontline's blustery interactions. At times temperate, yet largely fervent in scope, they ascend the piece into a series of yearning choruses, maximized by McCaslin's full-bodied tone and rousing lines, as the band walks it back down for the finale.
Tsiganov brings quite a bit to the table amid sustainable compositions, snappy arrangements and imaginative excursions that strikingly merge old values with upbeat modernism. He's most assuredly one to watch.
Track Listing: Yasya; Billie's Bounce; For Olena's Birthday; One For Norman; Long Shorter; Mister J.C.; Ella; I Could Write A Book.
Personnel: Misha Tsiganov: piano; Alex Sipiagin: trumpet; Donny McCaslin:tenor saxophone; Boris Kozlov: bass; Gene Jackson: drums.
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