Russian born saxophonist and composer Sergej Avanesov debuts on this new release. He attended the well-known Kim Nazaretov jazz music school in Russia and after the graduation moved to the Netherlands to study at the Prince Claus Conservatoire. Now he lives in Groningen, Netherlands, and performs with different bands all over the world. strong influences on his music include John Coltrane, Joshua Redman, and Keith Jarrett. he is backed on this by John Escreet - piano, Fender Rhodes, Boris Kozlov - double bass, and Samvel Sarkisyan - drums, on a program of original compositions that reflect his love for the American song book from the contour of modern classical music which he studied before jazz and is the catalyst of most of original compositions.
Avanesov impresses from the first notes on the opening "14," a hard bop romp with his vigorous, brawny tenor saxophone set over Escreet's block chords and the tight rhythm with Sarkisyan soloing. "A," dedicated to his brother, is a bit moodier with bassist Kozlov getting the spotlight along with a playful piano solo by Escreet in addition to the leader's probing solo exhibiting a slight vibrato is his tone. The title track is an exquisite, softly played ballad followed by the comparative rambunctiousness of "Short Memory," with more standout piano and another impressive drum solo against Escreet's repeated figure. "I Trust You" is an atmospheric ballad with Escreet bringing forth chime-like sounds on the Fender Rhodes under the leader's reflective sax. A performance that displays the interplay between the members as well as the use of dynamics by Avanesov and the group is "Big Mike," inspired by the movie "The Blind Side” about the football star Michael Oher, while his classical background is exhibited on his composition "8632," with a fugue like quality with Escreet on the Fender Rhodes. The closing "Yoonmi," is a dreamy performance with the leader on soprano sax.
Sergej Avanesov's debut is a engaging recording of interesting originals that display his saxophone voice with a terrific band.
Received as download from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the November-December 2017 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 375). Here is Sergej Avanesov performing "Yoonmi."