Boris Kozlov, First Things First Review
Boris Kozlov is a two-time Grammy Award-winning acoustic and electric bassist, composer, and arranger; Boris has been on the New York and international jazz scene for the past twenty years. Kozlov is the bassist, arranger, and Musical Director for the Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, and The Orchestra and leads his own projects. The Russian born, New York City-based musician has performed with Michael Brecker, John Blake, Ray Barretto’s ‘New World Spirit,’ Lew Tabackin, David Kikoski, Alex Sipiagin, Jean-Michel Pilc, McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Cobb, Maceo Parker, Jimmy Smith, Henry Butler, Toots Thielemans, and Clark Terry. As a recording artist, he has performed on 9 Grammy-nominated albums plus the Grammy-winning Simpatico and 160 other albums. Kozlov teaches master classes worldwide following the release of his solo acoustic bass album Double Standard. He is now releasing First Things First.
First Things First is Kozlov’s Posi-Tone records debut, and he is joined by saxophonist Donnie McCaslin, vibraphonist Behn Gillece, keyboardist/pianist Art Hirahara and drummer Rudy Royston. The album opens with “Page One” and Kozlov playing a Mingus quote with a gorgeous arco tone. Once the ensemble enters, a modern straight groove is established with a catchy rhythmic theme. Gillece’s solo is melodic and in the pocket as the group moves to push him to an intense climax. Kozlov’s solo shows his deep respect for melody and groove. “Second Line Sally” is a McCaslin original that the ensemble finds inspiration in its New Orleans-based groove with a modern jazz melody. Kozlov shows off his electric bass skills on this one as McCaslin performs an inspiring solo. The final track is a haunting arrangement of Mingus’ “Eclipse,” which is fitting considering Kozlov is the Musical Director for the Mingus Big Band and was also the opening quote of the album. Overall, First Things First is a solid outing for Kozlov, the ensemble is in sync, and they have a strong communitive repour. The songs flow well with various qualities and textures, yielding a solid modern jazz listening experience. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Boris Kozlov: Website |
First Things First
The More Things Change
Second Line Sally
Once A Fog In Babylon
Boris Kozlov: acoustic bass; electric bass 2, 6, 8, 10; piccolo bass 6
Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone; alto flute 2, 8, 10
Art Hirahara: piano; Rhodes 8; B3 6, 10
Behn Gillece: vibraphone (not on 6)
Rudy Royston: drums; percussion 2, 6, 11
January 21, 2022