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Smiling Organizm Vol. 1

Compact Disc (Audio)
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Smiling Organizm Vol. 1
Smiling Organizm Vol. 1


'Smiling Organizm' is the debut Whirlwind Recordings release by Russian native, London based alto saxophonist Zhenya Strigalev. Bringing together a molten mix of swing, fusion, funk, ballads, free improv and hard-driving post-bop 'Smiling Organizm' is a rollercoaster ride through today's urban jazz jungle. It's also buzzing with hook-laden melodies that ensnare your ear and won't let go, be it opening blast of "Fletcher", or the sneaky groove of "Anchovies" or the sparse sax-and-bass intro melody of "Fairy Stairs", this is music that's as immediate as it is exciting.

There's high drama too on the insistent bebop-and-break beats of "Fletcher", with Zhenya opening up his solo with some fearsome double-time lines that skitter all over the modal vamp. He then passes the solo baton to New York-based trumpeter, and fellow countryman, Vitaly Golovnyov who makes several strong contributions throughout the album. There's heavy experimentation as well on the astonishing freeform deconstruction of the album's only cover (written in 1955 by composer Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi and poet Mikhail Matusovsky) "Midnight in Moscow". And while Strigalev's attitudinal alto is impressive throughout, his strong compositions and inspired band leading skills also shine.

The band's rocket-fuelled rhythm section includes the stellar talents of Brad Mehldau/FLY double bassist Larry Grenadier, and the pungently funky bass guitar of Wayne Krantz/Rudder man Tim Lefebvre - each taking the music down diverting acoustic and electric avenues. They both link seamlessly with drummer extraordinaire Eric Harland (Charles Lloyd/Dave Holland) who crackles with energy across the entire set, providing an endless stream of whip cracking beats. Zhenya wanted to retain some of the edginess of his adoptive London scene so he invited widely acclaimed UK pianist Liam Noble along too, who seals each composition with deft harmonic touches and exciting solos.

Having been ensconced among some of the world's finest jazz musicians and played, listened and watched them deep in the creative process, the resulting music reflects Zhenya's restlessly imaginative style. Melodically accessible yet possessing the rock-edged attitude of NYC's Downtown scene 'Smiling Organizm' happily leaps between deep swing, free improv, modal chords and darting post-bop passages. The perfect distillation of jazz forged at the cutting edge this album emphatically marks Strigalev's arrival as a creative force in his own right.

Personnel: Zhenya Strigalev (alto saxophone), Vitaly Golovnev (trumpet), Liam Nobel (piano), Tim Lefebvre (electric bass), Larry Grenadier (double bass), Eric Harland (drums)


  1. Name
  2. Fletcher
  3. Anchovies
  4. Midnight in Moscow
  5. Fairy Stairs
  6. Sarmas
  7. Yaspin
  8. Permandent
  9. Rally
  10. Talmenoakin
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