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July/August 2005

Alex Sipiagin
Equilibrium
Criss Cross Jazz

It's high time more people start taking notice of Alex Sipiagin. With all the understandable buzz surrounding the Dave Holland Big Band, perhaps listeners will remember the name of the Russian-born guy in the trumpet section. Maybe the more adventurous types will seek out Equilibrium, his fourth Criss Cross album.

A Thelonious Monk interpretation serves as an example that there's more going on here than what might be initially perceived. The group plays "Evidence" but Scott Colley throws a red herring in the intro by playing the bass line to "Misterioso." So when the jagged theme begins, the center is hard to find-and when Sipiagin takes a solo the tune becomes something original and driving.

This same dexterous quality can be felt on "Mood 2"-which would sound at home in a Holland group-or "Blues for Kids "-which doesn't dumb it down for the little ones. In fact, all of the trumpeter's originals have an original spark and fire. Chris Potter, Sipiagin's bandmate from the Holland group, joins alto/soprano saxophonist David Binney on the frontline and the trumpeter uses them to good effect throughout, including two short horn-only collective improvs.

Originally published in July/August 2005
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