In recent years double bassist Yuri Goloubev
has lent his rich sound to multiple projects, including the co-led Duonomics
(Caligola, 2018) with Michele Di Toro
. It was 2011's Titanic for a Bike
(Caligola), however, that marked Goloubev's last recording as outright leader. This welcome returnhis headlining debut on Basho Recordssees him align with frequent musical partners Asaf Sirkis
and Tim Garland
, and new collaborator John Turville
, on a finely crafted set of originals written and arranged by the Russian.
Though rhythmically vital, it's melody above all else that courses through the music, in both Gouloubev's elegant writing and the uniformly lyrical soloing. In this respect much of the music's character is down to the presence of Garland. Goloubev graced Garland's majestic Weather Walker
(Edition Records, 2018) and the former Earthworks multi-reedist returns the favor with strong playing, predominantly on soprano saxophone. It's an instrument that lends itself well to the melodious contours of the bassist, who in the past has looked to Julian Arguelles
and Klaus Gesing
to fulfill a similar role.
There's a nod to Goloubev's classical roots on the sprightly "Beethoven & Schubert: friends?," which is inspired by the classical composers' respective piano and arpeggione sonatas. Before dedicating himself to jazz, Goloubev held the bass chair in the Moscow Soloists Chamber Orchestra for a dozen years, performing with the likes of Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich and James Galway. Given that the Schubert sonata was written for the viola da gamba-like arpeggione, it's perhaps a surprise that Goloubev resists the call of his bow, though his solo here, and indeed his soloing throughout the album, is wonderfully vivid and sonorouslike a cross between Ray Brown
and Dave Holland
Gouloubev's quartet is a partnership of equals, however, with Turville doubling down on rhythmic and melodic roles, often in unison with Garland and Goloubev. The pianist also chips in with some fine solos, displaying a refined touch on the caressing ballad "Two Chevrons Apart," and flowing melodicism on "Just Another Week"one of two tracks to feature Garland tearing it up on tenor saxophone. Sirkis, for his part, is a pivotal figure. He knows these musicians well from their numerous collaborations and is a deft accompanist, bringing the subtlest colors to the classically tinged lament "Cemetery Symmetry," and a martial bounce to the sunny, though hard driving "Sweet Nothings."
The aptly named "Elegiac" is a beautifully understated affair, crowned by back-to-back bass and soprano solos that are as concise as they are lyrical. A bass ostinatoa seldom used device on these eight tracksintroduces "Parisian Episode Vii," another handsome tune that embraces the individual virtuosity of Goloubev and Turville. At the song's tail-end, a piano and bass vamp invites a brief flare from Sirkis, but this is the only well-worn pattern on a recording of quite personal stamp.
Perhaps one reason why Goloubev hasn't recorded more as a leader is simply because so many musicians seek him for their own projects. For sure, Goloubev is one of the greatest of contemporary jazz bassists, but as Two Chevrons Apart
eloquently attests, he's an accomplished and sensitive composer to boot. Let's hope it's not long before he picks up the mantle of leader again.
Beethoven & Schubert: friends?; Two Chevrons Apart; Just Another Week; Dead End Date; Cemetery Symmetry; Sweet
Nothings; Elegiac; Parisian Episode VII.
Tim Garland: soprano saxophone (1-2, 4, 7-8), tenor saxophone (3, 6).