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Misha Tsiganov: Misha Tsiganov: The Artistry Of The Standard

Edward Blanco By

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Veteran Russian pianist Misha Tsiganov has an extensive discography featuring original compositions and, like most musicians, blending a few standards for familiarity along the way. With The Artistry Of The Standard, the pianist presents an entire album of standards reprising the music of jazz greats Wayne Shorter, Charlie Parker, Wes Montgomery and John Coltrane among others. Jazz standards however, is not the only genre represented on the nine-piece repertoire as Tsiganov also includes music from the Great American Songbook drawing songs from Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Jerome Kern as well as an uncommon pop tune from Stevie Wonder ("Make Sure You're Sure").

Two elements that make this an exceptional outing are, Tsiganov's superb arrangements making much of the tunes sound like new instead of warn out renditions. The other obvious key to the success of this effort, is the collection of A-list players helping him interpret the standards. Performing with a quintet that features a horn section of saxophonist Seamus Blake and trumpeter Alex Sipiagin—both blowing the house down on the nine-minute version of "Get Out Of Town," is just one indication of how good this album is. The horns are silent on the Kern standard "The Song Is You" as Tsiganov takes charge with bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Donald Edwards providing all the background support the pianist needs as he delivers one masterful performance providing one excellent treatment of a beautiful time-honored standard.

The pianist's affinity for the music of saxophonist Wayne Shorter is evident as he opens the music with a blistering read of the icon's "Fall" and continues with another lively read of the familiar "This Is All For Albert" showcasing another gorgeous piano solo, a Sipiagin push and more from tenorist Blake. With the pianist leading the way, the oft-recorded "Falling In Love With Love" is almost unrecognizable with terrific improvisational twists and changes disguising the melody and making this version quite unique. Tsiganov's talents as a bebop and post-bop player and interpreter are on display on the very boppish Coltrane tune "Mr. Day" as are the appreciable chops of saxophonist Blake with some steamy solos.

Jazz pianist Misha Tsiganov long ago cemented his place in the jazz world and certainly deserves recognition as one of the most celebrated jazz pianist of our time as the music of The Artistry Of The Standard truly attests. Leading an outstanding cadre of jazz musicians—all major players in their own right—this quintet is one formidable ensemble that plays tight and delivers the music with gusto. The standards have never sounded as robust and challenging as the way Tsiganov arranges and presents here, exemplary on all fronts.

Track Listing: Fall; Get Out Of Town; The Song Is You; Ah-LeuCha; This Is For Albert; Four On Six; Falling In Love; Mr. Day; Make Sure You're Sure.

Personnel: Misha Tsiganov: piano; Alex Sipiagin: trumpet, flugelhorn; Seamus Blake: tenor saxophone; Boris Kozlov: bass; Donald Edwards: drums.

Title: Misha Tsiganov: The Artistry Of The Standard | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Criss Cross

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