The dark-toned, subtle, inviting and yet vaguely dangerous Deep Immersion represents electric bassist Konstantin Ionenko's project as a leader (and sole composer), the other being Flow from the Deep Tone Project, which he co-leads with guitarist Alexandr Pavlov.
Ionenko does not hide this music's antecedents, which are sixties hard bop, complete with the two-horn front line declaiming the theme in unison, supported by a piano trio. However, this is no slavish copy of that era's aesthetic, nor even that of today's neo-hard-bop mainstream.
Anchored by Ionenko's slick, polished, finely honed bass sound and unpredictable rhythms and note choices, his compositions roll out logically and are allowed to take their time to develop. The music is highly emotional, either on the romantic side, as in "Devoted" or "Deep Dive," or the energetic, slightly angry side, as in "Barracuda," "Sect" or the intense "Invisible."
All of players shine at one point or another, especially, and most naturally saxophonist Dmitri Shlelein, (who evokes Greg Osby to these ears) and trumpet/flugelhorn player Dennis Adu, but also pianist Pavel Litvinenko when he steps out to the front; drummer Pavel Galitsky is solidly in sync with Ionenko every step of the way.
Ionenko's music is deeply felt; one cannot help giving in to it and "immerse" in its sensuousness. Both horns affect a softened, gauzy sound which is supported by the piano's lush chords. There is a kind of intellectual sexiness to this music, mixed with a playful seriousness. The large sound stage matches the wide open emotional ambiance, but this is balanced by the simultaneous attention to detail and small-scale touches which continually surprise.
Deep Immersion is excellent and intelligent music, well conceived and extremely well-played. The future awaits for more from Ionenko and the musicians who surround him.
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