May 21, 2024

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CD review: Leonid Morozov – I Wish I Knew 2022: Video, CD cover

There are many dynasties in Russian jazz. Many jazzmen’s children continued the work of their fathers. But three generations for a grandson to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps? There is such a thing too.

And here is the most recent example: Leonid Vintskevich, an outstanding Russian jazz pianist and composer, art director of one of the strongest jazz festivals in Russia, has a son, saxophonist Nikolai Vintskevich. He is a renowned jazz and fusion musician who performs internationally as Nick Vintskevich. And now Nikolai’s nephew, the grandson of Leonid, followed in the footsteps of his grandfather. Meet jazz guitarist Leonid Morozov!

Leonid made his debut on the professional stage early: he was only 15 when he already performed in Russia at jazz festivals. With a stage name, there was no certainty yet. He performed (often in the same ensemble with his grandfather, Leonid Sr.) as Leonid Junior, that is, the youngest. In social networks, he is to this day Leonid Morozov-Vintskevich. But on the cover of his debut album is the name Leonid Morozov.

The album is called “I Wish I Knew” (“I wish I knew”), and it was recorded in the USA with American musicians. And the American musicians are from the big leagues: the famous bassist Ari Roland (Ari Roland), the permanent drummer of his ensemble Keith Balla (Keith Balla), and the legendary Jon Faddis (Jon Faddis) on the pipe also participates in several tracks! Sounds on the album and vocals: in three tracks the young singer Samara Joy sings (Samara Joy), who won the prestigious Jazz Vocal Competition. Sarah Vaughan in 2019, a graduate of the esteemed jazz college SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music, i.e. Purchase College Conservatory of the State University of New York.

It’s simple: Samara and Leonid studied together at this conservatory. The drummer Keith Ball also studied there, although he is much older: in the mid-2000s, he had to leave his studies for a while, because he toured a lot around the world, but now he decided to complete his studies and … studied literally on the same course with Leonid and Samara, and played with Leonid in a student ensemble. Well, the legendary trumpeter Faddis, leader of the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band (1992-2002) and Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra of New York (since 2003), teaches at this conservatory. This is such a tangle of creative and human connections – quite understandable in the capital of world jazz, where everyone plays with everyone and enriches each other with experience and ideas.

The album contains eight tracks – all jazz standards performed in the style of the modern mainstream. The playing of the musicians is modern, but the overall style is deliberately “vintage”: a nostalgic look from the 2020s to the 1950s, seen through the prism of the contemporary experience of the recording participants – an experience enriched by their deep knowledge of jazz history. The trio features five tracks: guitarist Morozov, bassist Roland and drummer Ball.

One track is presented on the album in two versions – this is Harry Warren’s ballad “I’ll String Along With You”, which Leonid Morozov and vocalist Samara Joy recorded twice as a duet and could not choose the best version: both are good in their own way, so the second version was included on the album as a bonus track number 9. Finally, two tracks – “I’m Old Fashioned” by Jerome Kern and “Sunday” by Chester Conn – are played by a quintet: Morozov, Roland and Ball plus vocalist Joy and trumpeter John Faddis.

The album is released for the Western market on the British label Floating Lost Records, and in Russia it is planned to be released on Butman Music Records. Despite the pandemic and diplomatic storms over the planet, musicians from different countries continue to play together, including in the most traditional jazz mainstream style. On the one hand, this is another confirmation of the global nature of the language of jazz art: we are once again convinced that jazz has no boundaries. On the other hand, in spite of everything, the Russian jazz community continues to grow into the world stage: whatever it may be, the Russians are coming!

1 I Wish I Knew (3:55)
2 Sunday (5:29)
3 Old Folks (4:01)
4 Quasimodo (4:40)
5 I’ll String Along with You (2:35)
6 Robbin’s Nest (5:16)
7 I’m Old Fashioned (3:55)
8 Jahbero (5:07)
9 I’ll String Along with You (Take 2)

(Bonus Track) (2:40)

Новые альбомы. Гитарист Леонид Морозов записал в США дебютную работу «I Wish I Knew» | «Джаз.Ру»

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