49

Dmitry Baevsky: The Composers

David A. Orthmann By

Sign in to view read count
Dmitry Baevsky: The Composers In some respects, The Composers is cut from the same cloth as Down With It, Dmitry Baevsky's 2010 release on Sharp Nine. The alto saxophonist selects seldom-played compositions from the jazz canon and executes thoughtful interpretations, so that the heads of tunes like Cedar Walton's "Ojos de Rojo," Wayne Shorter's "Mister Chairman," and Duke Ellington's "Self Portrait (of the Bean)" stand quite nicely on their own. A crack rhythm section consisting of pianist David Hazeltine, bassist John Webber, and drummer Jason Brown (the lone holdover from Down With It) offers vigorously swinging support with a relatively light touch.

By and large, Baevsky's solos during The Composers indicate a period of growth and transition. Although he's never been a rigid, totally orthodox bebopper, his playing throughout the disc's nine tracks evinces a desire to expand beyond bop's stylistic markers and dig deeper in pursuit of an individualistic voice. To his credit, Baevsky is taking measured steps and staying clear of emulating any other major post-Parker jazz saxophonist. An impressive example of his growth can be found in the first chorus of pianist Horace Silver's "To Whom It May Concern," where he mixes wispy phrases which float over the rhythm section with things weightier and more certain. The downside of Baevsky's search is an over reliance on certain motifs which begin to sound too schematic, sometimes becoming a distraction on some of the other tracks.

Two solos, in particular, represent the best of the current state of his art. As the rhythm section implies double time after a pure ballad treatment of the head, Baevsky's expansive improvisation on "Self Portrait (of the Bean)" covers considerable ground in a couple of minutes. While never completely abandoning the ballad feel, his pert, abbreviated phrases leave lots of room for Hazeltine's stimulating commentary; changes in dynamics—some subtle, others rather abrupt—add a touch of drama, and some long runs are played in a rather breathy tone. A climax of sorts occurs a few of bars prior to the end of the chorus when he digs into a handful of notes that are akin to Ellington's melody.

The six choruses on "Tears Inside" are more tightly compacted than "Self Portrait." Baevsky is a cocky, briskly efficient bluesman throughout the live wire take of Ornette Coleman's classic minor tune. His lines, simultaneously playful and resolute, evince a very real connection to Webber's deep pocket bass line. During his first chorus, the slurry, upended phrase from the head echoes three times. Later, one long run begins almost timidly and ends with a shout. The tune's title may allude to inner grief, but Baeveky's interpretation of the music is a pure celebration, and the memory of the disc's final track lingers long after the last note fades.

Track Listing: Ojos de Rojo; Gaslight; Mister Chairman; To Whom It May Concern; Self Potrait (of the Bean); Swift as the Wind; Smoke Signal; Three Wishes; Tears Inside.

Personnel: Dmitry Baevsky: alto saxophone; Peter Bernstein: guitar (2, 4, 8); David Hazeltine: piano; John Webber: bass; Jason Brown: drums.

Title: The Composers | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Sharp Nine Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read My Head Is Listening CD/LP/Track Review My Head Is Listening
by John Sharpe
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Passin' Thru CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Ugly Beauty CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Nick Davies
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet CD/LP/Track Review Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Love Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Blue Skylight" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Skylight
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 12, 2017
Read "Jazzin' Around Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Jazzin' Around Christmas
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "You & I" CD/LP/Track Review You & I
by James Nadal
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "Beatbox Sax" CD/LP/Track Review Beatbox Sax
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Layers" CD/LP/Track Review Layers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 1, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A DONATION  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!