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Dmitry Baevsky: Over and Out

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There are now more important jazz musicians who hail from outside the continental U.S. than ever before. Take alto saxophone players. Two of the best, Francesco Cafiso and Miguel Zenón, are from Italy and Puerto Rico. Tineke Postma and Mattia Cigalini, from the Netherlands and Italy, belong on the list. So does Dmitry Baevsky, originally of St. Petersburg, Russia, now of New York.

Baevsky has chops that make other alto players consider finding another town. His extraordinary facility creates a sense of perfection in his solos, including those at very high speeds. The upside is that everyone appreciates a musician who makes hard things sound easy. The downside is that, since Baevsky is a logical and relatively conventional thinker, his music can lack the edge of win-or-lose risk that makes jazz exciting. Despite (or perhaps because of) his sheer competence, he can come off as predictable.

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