After twelve years as principal bassist in the world renowned chamber orchestra Moscow Soloists, where he played with the likes of Mstislav Rostropovich, Vedim Repim and James Galway, Russian Yuri Goloubev made the bold move of abandoning the classical world, relocating to Italy and dedicating himself entirely to jazz. It hasn't worked out too badly, for in half a dozen years his rich, full tone and outstanding arco playing has graced forty recordings. Goloubev's third release as leader, Metafora Semplici
, shows him to be a natural-born jazz bassist of distinction and a composer of note to boot.
Three choralessixteenth century hymns of accessible melody for church congregationsact as intro, mid-point and full stop in this collection. All three short pieces, melodically pleasing and with velvety arco from Golubev, contain strange animal sounds from Giovanni Falzone's muted trumpet, like a dissident voice from the pews.
The blueprint for most of the compositions sees Klaus Gesing's soprano saxophone stating the melody and laying the foundations for the ensemble playing which unfolds. Melody, above all, is paramount for Goloubev.
"Gare de Lyon" features a lithe solo from Goloubev which gains in velocity before handing over to pianist Gwilym Simcock, whose solo is elegant and fluid. Gesing restates the melody before embarking on a Wayne Shorter-ish excursion which gradually intensifies, encouraged by Asaf Sirkis' animated drumming and Simcock's percussive stabbing. There is a subtle momentum to the piece, and it fades away just as smoothly.
There is an air of grandeurmystery, evenabout "San Guadenzio," a composition inspired by the architecture of the cathedral in the Italian city of Navara. Light mallets, slightly austere piano, and almost reluctant bass create a sense of tip-toeing reverence. By way of contrast, and in nice juxtaposition, the pretty miniature "Francesca Da Ischia" features Gesing's soprano, and is like a brief tune whistled on emerging into the sunlight.
Soprano and trumpet harmonize sweetly on the intro to the swinging "Joey Hitchhiker," dedicated to Joey Calderazzo. Falzone takes a gutsy, searching solo, and his slightly rasping tone contrasts nicely with Gesing's high-pitched singing quality.
Lyricism pervades these compositions. There is a lightly stated beauty in the structure of the writing and in the often softly voiced solos, typified by the lilting title track. Even at its most intense, as in Gesing's impressive soprano solos on "Parisian Episode III" and "Diaries," the music never loses its appeal.
At the outset of "Quack, Pero!" however, Falzone sounds as though he's trying to suck up the dregs of his soup through his trumpet, though the tune reverts to melodic type thereafter. Rich harmonics are stirred when Gesing switches to bass clarinet and entwines with Falzone's trumpet, whetting the appetite for more.
As one third of Gwilym Simcock's new trio which recorded the impressive Blues Vignette, (Basho Records, 2009) Goloubev is set to reach a much wider audience. The classical world's loss is jazz's considerable gain.