Moscow Jazz Quintet: The Jazznost Tour

Jerry D'Souza By

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The Moscow Jazz Quintet
The Jazznost Tour
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The Moscow Sax Quintet was formed by Vladimir Zaremba in 1987 from members of the Moscow Philharmonic Society. Through a set of fortuitous circumstances, the Quintet was invited to play at the 1990 I.A.J.E. convention in New Orleans in 1990, where Bob Karcy of Arkadia Records was in the audience. Impressed by their performance he had their concert at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago filmed.

The band is in its element. and the concert is a remarkable show of virtuosity, bringing together the music of Charlie Parker, Fats Waller, Bill Evans, The Beatles and Rimsky- Korsakov. The harmonic concepts are at a constantly high level, the arrangements top-notch, and the playing is consistently compact yet eloquent.

The Quintet loses no time in drawing the listener into its essence, opening the night with Glenn Miller's swing anthem, "In the Mood," demonstrating a controlled sense of the groove without sacrificing the delightful joy of the composition. From then on, it's is a roller-coaster ride of mood and pulse as they balance hard-driving with gentle tunes.

"Michelle" drops the rhythm section, and in the a capella setting the frontline reinvents the tune with warmth, capturing its spirit through gently flowing lines. The Beatles tune is given a new presence through the flowing gentility of legato lines that are awash with an abiding passion.

Emotion can be displayed in several ways, and the Parker compositions provide a welcome tangent from the softer compositions. All are played with verve, but the pyrotechnics of "Donna Lee" provide a solid punch and a dizzying display of the way the Quintet could execute challenging bebop. The fiery permutations also find a compact home in their robust interpretation of Jimmy Giuffre's composition for the Woody Herman saxophone section, "Four Brothers."

In the midst of it all comes Lyubov Zazulina to scat on "Smooth Sailing," perhaps the most important early scat vehicle for Ella Fitzgerald. Zazulina tackles the song with vivacious abandon, showing off her impressive range along with her scatting chops. It all comes to a close with Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumble Bee," on which the Quintet adroitly adds jazz changes to the classical harmonic base to bring a final touch of class to an entertaining evening.

Tracks: In the Mood; Yardbird Suite; Parker's Mood; Four Brothers; Your Eyes; I Got Rhythm; Smashing Thirds; Smooth Sailing; Donna Lee; Waltz For Debbie; Crazy Rhythm; Michelle; Flight of the Bumble Bee.

Personnel: Vladimir Zaremba: leader, 1st tenor sax, soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet; Alexander Boychuk: 1st alto sax, soprano sax, clarinet; Gennady Pakhtusov: 2nd tenor sax, flute; Oleg Ageyev: 2nd alto sax, soprano sax; Vladimir Konibolotsky: baritone sax, clarinet; Vladimir Soloviov: piano; Igor Shestov: bass; Alexander Chunikov: drums; Lyubov Zazulina: vocals; Vladimir Vinogradoff: master of ceremonies.

Production Notes: 62 minutes.

Extras: About the MSQ; Picture Gallery.


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