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A heralded outsider, Russian pianist Simon Nabatov imparts a personal spin on a selection of legendary jazz pianist Herbie Nichols' discography. Here, Nabatov performs solo, exuding his habitual creative sparks during these interrogations and investigations of Nichols' often-overlooked body of work. Featuring integrations of traditional jazz applications with austere classicism, bop, world-beat grooves and more, the pianist duly underscores Nichols' knotty rhythmic persuasions.
Throughout, Nabatov tears down these compositions and re-engineers the various melodies and structures. With flourishing cadenzas, trickling harmonics and a host of expressive formations, the artist sustains a high-level of interest. On "The Spinning Song," he conveys great sensitivity yet flexes some muscle during various passages.
Complete with rollicking progressions, spinning notes and haunting contrasts, the pianist seamlessly melds a fire and brimstone outline into bluesy statements and energized chord clusters. Nabatov explores an abundance of rhythmic variations and tinkers with the free-zone in spots, but closes the piece on a whimper, as if to suggest the gas tank is on empty. Indeed, he exhausts a cavalcade of ideologies, running on overdrive to offset the temperate moments with compassion and poise.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.