The title of the new album by Russian saxophonist Oleg Kireyev and American pianist, Keith Javors, "The Meeting," might suggest a first-time pairing of the two. In fact it is their second recorded collaboration after 2010's " Rhyme & Reason." The two here are joined by trumpet icon Tom Harrell and a terrific rhythm duo of bassist Ben Williams and drummer E.J. Strickland (who was on the earlier release by the two). This new recording has four originals by the pair (with two alternate takes) and fresh renderings of three standards.
The album gets off the a breezy start with the easy swing of Kireyev's "April," and the easy, swinging tempo set up by Javors and rhythm is followed by the lyricism of both Harrell and Kireyev. Javors himself establishes his fluidity, deft touch and his melodicism. Javors' lovely ballad "Inwardly" contrasts with his bouncy title track. Bruno Martino's classic samba "Estate," is done just be the rhythm trio and while the opening hints at Herbie Hancock, the performance quickly transitions into a lovely, wistful number. The rendition of "Caravan" opens with a middle-Eastern flavor with Kireyev adding a snatch of Tuvan throat singing before the groove kicks in and their is wonderful interplay between sax and piano over the smoldering rhythm section. Kireyev offers a very appealing, tenor solo (evoking Ben Webster and Chu Berry) on "Body and Soul," made perhaps more striking set against a hip hop-tinged groove of Williams and Strickland. The closing "Fresh Blues" is a brisk hard bop flavored groover with Harrell, and both leaders soloing strongly with Strickland standing out.
The deluxe edition of this includes additional takes of "April" and "Fresh Blues," completing this delightful musical collaboration.
The record company provided my review copy. This review originally appeared in the November-December 2106 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 369).Here is a promotional video for the recording.