OPUS 5, INTRODUCING OPUS 5


Ad hoc collectives, the best of which are made up of like-minded jazz musicians who, when the flow is true, can produce some mighty sweet sounds and winning interplay. Opus 5 proves to be this capable on “Introducing Opus 5,” a debut dipped in soul-jazz for the Dutch-based Criss Cross Jazz label. As is customary for this label, the sonic flavor and you-are-there acoustics are stunningly realized.

The lead track, “Think Of Me,” is adorned with the crystalline sound of David Kikoski’s Fender Rhodes piano, and introduces a precision frontline to reckon with – trumpeter Alex Sipiagin and tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, a pair touched by both tradition and modern jazz idioms. Bassist Boris Kozlov and Donald Edwards on drums provide potent assistance to round out this sleek quartet. Free wheeling yet rock steady, the band drills down on their all-original compositions like Kikoski’s “Baker’s Dozen,” an swaggering cut with a catchy hook that swings Crusaders-style and cuts deep with Sipiagin’s razor sharp solo. When they make room for a ballad, they cover a bossa nova tune by Toninho Horta highlighted by Blake’s stirring phrases while blowing over the lilting rhythm. Equality reigns supreme with this quartet as each brings a tune to the date but Kikoski, a lyrical pianist with a solid career of his own, gives these tunes a welcome rush and backbone, especially on “Nostalgia In Time” and the rambunctious groove of “Sokol.”

Overall, this is a group that pushes music not boundaries, and while the smart liner notes by Josef Woodard allude to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis’ mid-60s group as inspiration, Opus 5 is a confident outfit with plenty to say on its own. (7 tracks; 62:37 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: OPUS 5, INTRODUCING OPUS 5

Saturday, December 3, 2011

OPUS 5, INTRODUCING OPUS 5


Ad hoc collectives, the best of which are made up of like-minded jazz musicians who, when the flow is true, can produce some mighty sweet sounds and winning interplay. Opus 5 proves to be this capable on “Introducing Opus 5,” a debut dipped in soul-jazz for the Dutch-based Criss Cross Jazz label. As is customary for this label, the sonic flavor and you-are-there acoustics are stunningly realized.

The lead track, “Think Of Me,” is adorned with the crystalline sound of David Kikoski’s Fender Rhodes piano, and introduces a precision frontline to reckon with – trumpeter Alex Sipiagin and tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, a pair touched by both tradition and modern jazz idioms. Bassist Boris Kozlov and Donald Edwards on drums provide potent assistance to round out this sleek quartet. Free wheeling yet rock steady, the band drills down on their all-original compositions like Kikoski’s “Baker’s Dozen,” an swaggering cut with a catchy hook that swings Crusaders-style and cuts deep with Sipiagin’s razor sharp solo. When they make room for a ballad, they cover a bossa nova tune by Toninho Horta highlighted by Blake’s stirring phrases while blowing over the lilting rhythm. Equality reigns supreme with this quartet as each brings a tune to the date but Kikoski, a lyrical pianist with a solid career of his own, gives these tunes a welcome rush and backbone, especially on “Nostalgia In Time” and the rambunctious groove of “Sokol.”

Overall, this is a group that pushes music not boundaries, and while the smart liner notes by Josef Woodard allude to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis’ mid-60s group as inspiration, Opus 5 is a confident outfit with plenty to say on its own. (7 tracks; 62:37 minutes)

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