All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

5

Nick Levinovsky: Special Opinion

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Legendary Russian pianist, composer/arranger Nick Levinovsky delivers a masterpiece of an album on Special Opinion superbly supported by friend, saxophonist Igor Butman and his Moscow Jazz Orchestra. The leader offers a non-traditional session of music presenting a taste of Funk, fusion, jazz-rock, a tinge of psychedelic and yes, even good old contemporary straight ahead stuff—all in one varied package of big band music. Though now based in New York, where he lives with wife, singer Kathy Jenkins, since 1983 Levinovsky has been a long-time member of Butman's various Russian big bands serving as the main arranger and pianist for his orchestras. As leader of his own groups, the pianist chose to record this project in New York with various special guests.

With a history of composing, arranging and performing main stream jazz for small ensembles as well as large orchestrations, Levinovsky desired to venture into new territory and does so here blending the sounds of a jazz orchestra with the stylistic approach of a rock band resulting in one exciting session of music. The ten originals start off with the title track where Mike Stern's electric guitar solos inject an element of the psychedelic on a primarily fusion-side beginning, only to shift dramatically on the following "Young Beauty (Here She Is)" that lands on a more contemporary setting with solo shots from Stern, Butman and the pianist.

One of the soft spots on the disc comes on the gorgeous "Loneliness" featuring sparkling solos from Butman and guest trumpeter Randy Brecker—definitely a highlight of the album. The duo join forces once again on the boisterous Funk-styled "Procession" with drummer Dave Weckl and the band providing the funky beats and rhythms. The band goes on another fusion romp on the adventurous "Exodus," then returns to a swinging progressive number on the gyrating "Falcon Hunt" showcasing another marvelous Butman saxophone joust.

The swing continues on the jazz-rock approach to "Chick's Picks" showcasing the leader on the keyboards and mellows out on the delicious "In This World" where Levinovsky is the main feature. The band and music calm down a bit on the romantic finale "Promised Sunlight" ending a wonderful session of music that ventures on the outer edge of the jazz stratosphere. Other special guests making the date are saxophonist Bill Evans, bassist Tom Kennedy and guitarist Mitch Stein.

An audacious big band album, Special Opinion is more than special, it is a testament to Nick Levinovsky's talents as a composer, arranger and musician. Levinovsky does a bang up job in melding influences of Funk and fusion into traditional jazz orchestrations to produce a swinging sound that packs a punch, now that's one Special Opinion worth hearing.

Track Listing: Special Opinion; Young Beauty (Here She Is); Loneliness; Uncle Joe; Exodus; Falcon Hunt; Chick's Picks; Procession; In This World; Promised Sunlight.

Personnel: Nick Levinovsky: keyboards; Randy Brecker: trumpet; Igor Butman: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Bill Evans: tenor saxophone; Mike Stern: guitar; Mitch Stein: guitar; Tom Kennedy: bass; Dave Weckl: drums; Konstantin Safyanov: alto saxophone, flute; Ilya Morozov: alto saxophone, flute; Dmitry Mospan: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Alexander Dovgopoly: baritone saxophone, flute; Pavel Zhulin: lead trumpet; Denis Popov: trumpet; Alexander Berenson: trumpet; Alexander Sakharov: trumpet; Alevtina Polyakova: trombone; Oleg Borodin: trombone; Pavel Ovchinnikov: trombone; Nikolay Shevnin: bass trombone.

Title: Special Opinion | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Butman Music Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Special Opinion

Special Opinion

Butman Music Records
2014

buy
 

Kind of Red

NLO Records
2000

buy
 

Listen Up!

NLO Records
1999

buy

Related Articles

Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Love Stone CD/LP/Track Review
Love Stone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Empty Castles CD/LP/Track Review
Empty Castles
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Myths and Morals CD/LP/Track Review
Myths and Morals
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 22, 2018
Read The Sum Of My Pardon CD/LP/Track Review
The Sum Of My Pardon
by Jim Olin
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read "Enso" CD/LP/Track Review Enso
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 27, 2018
Read "La Terza Via" CD/LP/Track Review La Terza Via
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 9, 2018
Read "Desert" CD/LP/Track Review Desert
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 1, 2018
Read "Accelerated Projection" CD/LP/Track Review Accelerated Projection
by Don Phipps
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "Viriditas" CD/LP/Track Review Viriditas
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "The Crave" CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017