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Zhenya Strigalev and Federico Dannemann: The Change

Glenn Astarita By

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The leaders of this date met 14-years ago at the Royal Academy Music and have become important contributors to London's jazz scene. The album title parallels life's changes, namely saxophonist Zhenya Strigalev's move back to Russia and guitarist Zhenya Strigalev and Federico Dannemann's return to performing after devoting much of his time to teaching in Santiago, Chile. As first-call New York City musicians, drummer Obed Calvaire and bassist Luques Curtis round-out this bopping and impassioned jazz fusion set, galvanized by the musicians' perpetual motion, and offset by ephemeral incursions into the free zone.

It doesn't take long to realize that this ensemble means business via several movements, framed on off-centered time signatures and the frontline's smoking unison lines and scalding solo jaunts. For example, "Pulse "is a spicy jazz funk motif, amped by Strigalev's linear flurries and heartening extended notes. As the musicians open up the floor and launch a brief tirade; paced by Curtis' limber phrasings and Calvaire's peppery and slinky groove constructions. Moreover, Danneman's crunching chords add a bit of grit and grizzle amid his judicious use of distortion processes.

Indeed, the quartet is assertive, armed with lots of pop and sizzle, elevated by pungent choruses and mini-detours while maintaining a high energy level, other than the semi-melodic ballad penned by Strigalev, "Speed Up." And while the saxophonist's demure vocals won't garner a Grammy award, this piece slowly soars and for the most part seems like a very personal work. But they pour fuel on the flames during "Total Silence," which runs its course through jazz rock persuasions, and pulsated by the drummer's snappy beats and the bassist's articulate lines. Strigalev's sprightly voicings are complemented by Danneman's intense and searing blues-tinted solo, spotted with jazzy fills and piercing extended notes, contrasted by a brief Reggae interlude during the bridge. Nonetheless, the ensemble's charismatic gait and excitable game-plan are used as vehicles to deliver the goods.

Track Listing: Algo Rhythm; Pulse; Boo; Coquille Du Terre; Speed Up; The Change; Total Silence; Pank.

Personnel: Zhenya Strigalev: saxophones, voice; Federico Dannemann: guitar, vocals; Luques Curtis: double bass; Obed Calvaire: drums.

Title: The Change | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Rainy Days Records

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