Russian-born pianist extraordinaire Misha Tsiganov delivers his second album and follow up to his highly-acclaimed Criss Cross Jazz label debut The Artistry of The Standard
, with the thoroughly enthralling and enchanting Spring Feelings
presenting a superb selection of five outrages originals and four reimagined standards in one exquisite package of post-bop burners. Before recoding the label debut, Tsiganov realized he had so much material available that it could not actually fit in one album and therefore suggested that Artistry should carry the "volume one" notice to the title that was eventually left off. No matter, as this recording stands on its own merits and not truly as a sequel of the first project.
One fast give away of just how good the music on this effort must be, is the cast of world-class players assembled here in support of the pianist. Returning from the Artistry album are fellow countryman and trumpeter Alex Sipiagin
, tenor saxophonist and luminary Seamus Blake
and New Orleans great, drummer Donald Edwards
all, by the way, members of the eclectic Opus 5 quintet. Replacing the outstanding Boris Kozlov
on bass here, is the internationally recognized Austrian bassist Hans Glawischnig
The 1934 standard by Arthur Schwartz, "You and the Night and the Music," is the album opener and one of the most difficult tracks to record with intricate changes that the pianist later simplified resulting in a captivating piece of music. The reflective ballad of "October in Kiev" is the session's soft spot, a heart-warming beautiful melody recorded in a standard piano trio format excluding the horns. Borrowing a couple of tunes from his favorite composer, elder statesman of jazz, saxophonist Wayne Shorter
's "Yes Or No," is the first which reflects more than a swinging hard-bop slice of jazz, on this arrangement, Tsiganov makes this one the fast-paced burner of the set.
The other Shorter composition receiving another terrific treatment here, is the classic "Infant Eyes" highlighting the play of saxophonist Blake, the trumpeter and the leader on yet another marvelous foray on the keys, is perhaps the most ambitious of the tracks at almost nine-minutes in length. One of the defining moments of the recording comes on the original "Jumping Michael," penned for his young son, takes slight elements of Latin combining it with a Horace Silver
flavor resulting in a solid texture that features Tsiganov on some of his best solo moments as well as displaying Sipiagin's formidable chops on his instrument.
The oft-recorded Jerome Brainin classic "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes," has always been an important song for the pianist in his personal path to jazz while a teenager and fulfills his long-awaited dream of recording the piece with a Tsiganov twist that makes the rendition one of the best around. The outstanding aggressive finale and title piece, features the entire band weighing in superbly as they go out in style certainly making Misha Tsiganov's Spring Feelings
, a collection of good jazzy feelings not to be missed.