(Alex Sipiagin, trumphet and flugelhorn; Eric Alexander, tenor sax; Andrei Kondakov, piano; Dmitri Kolesnik, bass; Lenny White, drums)
Russian bassist Dmitri Kolesnik’s debut CD as a bandleader, Blues for Dad, shows signs of a rising talent. With over half of the compositions written by Kolesnik, it’s clear the bassist has a gift for melodies (even if, in one case, he borrowed one from a legend) and humility (Kolesnik only solos on one song). The album’s first track, Blues for Dad, features wonderful playing by all, with highlights including a friendly duel of horns between Sipiagin and Alexander and a percussive bass solo from Kolesnik. The first thing you notice about the album’s second track, Home, is that its chorus has been stolen from Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. Since I can’t imagine Kolesnik would deny the similarities, I can only assume the theft is a tribute to Coltrane and a recognition of his influence.
Waltz for B.E. is a tribute to Bill Evans and it has some of the same grace and style found in Evans’ compositions. Kondakov’s piano playing on the track wonderfully sustains the contemplative mood of the track, until Sipiagin and Alexander’s solos go too big and ruin the tone set by the piano, bass, and drums. White Nights, Gray Days is a gorgeous ballad, with great interplay between piano and flugelhorn that creates a sweetly sad tone. Similiar to Waltz for B.E., this tone is broken by Alexander’s sax solo, but since the song’s tempo adjusts, the shift feels more natural. Blues for Dad may be a bit too beholden to its influences (Evans, Coltrane, Miles Davis), but it’s proof that Kolesnik has the right instincts. On White Nights, Gray Days especially, Kolesnik exhibits a gift for capturing a mood with the right melody and the right level of restraint.
Tracks: Blues for Dad, Home, Waltz for B.E., New York Wind, White Nights, Gray Days, Giving Rise to Doubt
– Daniel Krow