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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Vyacheslav Guyvoronsky, Andrei Kondakov & Vladimir Volkov - In Search Of A Standard (Leo Records, 2009) ***½

The liner notes state: "The concept of the CD was to compose pieces with reference to jazz standards". Those pieces are called : "Don't Take The "B" Train", "Wintertime", "Caravanserai", "Unsophisticated Lady", to name just a few. The trio is Vyacheslav Guyvoronsky on trumpet, Andrei Kondakov on piano and percussion, and Vladimir Volkov on bass. The end result leaves me a little perplex. The technical mastery is high, and a pleasure to hear, and so is their knowledge of styles and genres. Their approach to music is more ambiguous: at times very serious, but interspersed with entertaining factors, even little musical jokes, which would lead you to expect that they do not take themselves or the music too seriously, but then the music is. It gave me the same feeling that I had when listening to Lester Bowie's The Great Pretender many years ago. Is it authentic artistic expression, or is it just plain entertainment? It is both.  It's the same with the style. Some pieces, like the sensitive "Wintertime", are quite mainstream, but then on other tracks, like "Caravanserai", or "Standard", they move into areas few mainstreamers would dare to venture, despite the melodious moments. It is all great, but somehow also so full of ambiguity and internal conflict that it is disturbing. At least to me.

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© stef