Ruslan Khain: For Medicinal Purposes Only!

Russian-born bassist-composer Ruslan Khain, a stalwart at New York’s Smalls nightclub, swings convincingly on this excellent quintet session featuring Japanese trumpeter Yoshi Okazaki and tenor saxophonist Chris Byars with pianist Richard Clements and drummer Phil Stewart. Khain’s originals like “B-ology,” the uptempo “Hydrant” and burning title track are indelibly tied to an old-school Jazz Messengers-type aesthetic while his melancholy ballad “Sleep …” is a beautiful showcase for Okazaki. Hip tunes, potent chemistry and swaggering solos make this one a keeper.