Russian native Alex Sipiagin has been a first call trumpeter for several New York big bands for the past five years or so. A veteran of the Mingus Big Band, the Gil Evans Orchestra, and the Dave Holland Big Band, Sipiagin has been a favorite with critics but has yet to break though to the jazz public at large. Over the course of his three previous Criss Cross sides, the trumpeter has shown growth from a mainstream hard bop interpreter to an adventurous post bop progenitor.
Chock full of bristling improvisation, Equilibrium is arguably Sipiagin's best effort to date, and much of this is due to some fine writing no doubt influenced by Holland and a fantastic ensemble that includes saxophonist Chris Potter, pianist David Kikoski, and drummer Gene Jackson. Look no further than a run through Monk's "Evidence to hear that Sipiagin is not interested in run of the mill interpretations, but instead crafts arrangements and originals that are more about an elastic sense of time. Voicing the melody for two saxophones (Potter and David Binney) and his own muted trumpet, Sipiagin changes the rhythmic movement for a slightly off-kilter sound that suits the idiosyncratic nature of the piece to a tee.
Following the extroverted spirit of the opening "Mood 2, the title track, and the previously mentioned "Evidence, a dark and brooding "Sonhando Com O Meu Primeiro Amor by Brazilian heavyweight Toninho Horta finds Sipiagin at his lyrical best with a fat tone reminiscent of Freddie Hubbard. By contrast, the collective improvisation during two takes of "Free confirms that there are two sides to the trumpeter's personality and that he's not afraid to walk a musical tightrope without need for a safety net.
With a total being greater than the mere sum of its parts, Equilibrium serves as a complex and varied showcase for Alex Sipiagin and his top-notch crew of partners in crime. At the rate that he's going, there's no telling what even greater breakthroughs lie ahead for this forward-thinking musician.
Track Listing: Mood 2, Equilibrium, Evidence, Sonhando Com O Meu Primeiro Amor, Free 1, High, Good Morning, Blues For Kids, Free 2
Personnel: Alex Sipiagin (trumpet), Chris Potter (saxophones), David Binney (saxophones), David Kikoski (piano), Scott Colley (bass), Gene Jackson (drums)
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.