Alex Sipiagin, Ascent to the Blues Review
Alex Sipiagin is releasing his second album on the Posi-Tone Records label called, Ascent to the Blues. The eleven tracks pair Sipiagin’s trumpet with Diego Rivera on tenor saxophone, Art Hirahara on piano, Boris Kozlov on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums and percussion, the Posi-Tone Records house band essentially. The album was recorded at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NY; mixed and mastered at Woodland Studio, Lake Oswego, OR; engineered by Nick O’Toole, and produced by label owner Marc Free.
Ascent to the Blues fills its space with Sipiagin originals, a Woody Shaw selection, and two Wayne Shorter compositions. If Hard Bop mixed with modern jazz is your fancy, you will find yourself quite at home and well-entertained throughout this set, all stemming from the incredible two-horn repertoire. Sipiagin has a full-bodied tone on both the trumpet and flügelhorn. The opening selection, “Dolphin’s View,” is a modern funky jazz composition with a hip groove. Sipiagin’s solo has melodic imagination that produces a variety tone with exciting balances and contrasts. “Blues for Wood” is a Shaw original and features intense solos by Sipiagan and Rivera supported by a rhythm section that listens intently. Finally, “Hindsight” has an exciting melody and rhythmic structure that evens out for a swinging solo section that features Hirahara, Rivera, and Sipiagin. This selection has a beautiful sprinkling of the blues in each soloist’s modern jazz vocabulary. Overall, this is an excellent project for Sipiagin. However, with many Posi-Tone records featuring this core rhythm section and Rivera, I wonder how Sipiagin’s playing and compositions would flow if he recorded with his own steadily working ensemble. This does not take away from the beautiful playing by all involved, but an element of those great two-horn ensembles we all love is they were working units that developed chemistry over long hours of playing together. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Alex Sipiagin: Website |
Ascent to the Blues
May 20, 2022