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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Tchaikovsky in Jazz




1.December, Christmas

2.January, At the Fireside

3.June, Barcarolle

4.March, Song of the Lark

5.October, The Autumn Song

6.April, A Snowdrop

7.Waltz of the Flowers

8.February, Carnival

9.November, Troika

Sergey Zhilinís Trio: Sergey Zhilin (piano), Pavel Protasov (bass), Leonid Gusev (drums)

All tracks except 4 and 8: treatment by Yuri Markin, arranged by Sergey Zhilin

While there are too many reminders that history is repeating itself in Russia politically there are a lot of new and interesting things happening musically and this disc is a good example of that. It is of no surprise to read in the notes that Sergey Zhilin cites his idol as Oscar Peterson or that he picked up a lot from both Erroll Garner and Art Tatum and equally that like any pianist in Russia he is a member of a school that includes that master composer-pianist Sergey Rachmaninov with all that that implies for technique and style.

Drawing inspiration from Tchaikovsky for these pieces heís also following in the jazz footsteps of Jacques Loussier whose jazz creations from the works of Bach, Satie and others are now part of piano jazz history. Like Loussier Zhilin uses the trio format to explore the jazz possibilities of the quintessentially Russian Tchaikovsky and on the basis of this disc I hope he discovers more from his classical compatriots to draw inspiration from. With two exceptions these are Zhilinís arrangements for jazz trio of other arrangements of these pieces by Yuri Markin though it is unclear what they were made for (or who made the remaining two). What is clear, however, is that the jazz trio is the perfect format for these little masterpieces which with the exception of track 7.Waltz of the Flowers come from Tchaikovskyís The Seasons. Like Loussier he opens with the recognisable base and then dives off into the improvisation with fascinating, totally musical and great jazz results. Every one of these little gems is a winner and is so infectious the listener will find it difficult not to indulge in several repeat listenings of the entire disc one after another. Each of these musicians is clearly at the top of their game and I sincerely hope we hear a lot more from them. Further analysis is unnecessary: this disc needs hearing and if you like Loussier and Zhilinís jazz influences then youíre going to love this!

Steve Arloff

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