Hindsight

liner notes
I like to reminisce. It's something I do often, reflecting upon the past while contemplating the moment, measuring time and growth. I do this not only for nostalgia's sake but because it gives me perspective for the future, looking into the past to see what's ahead.

I was on the road with the George Gruntz Concert Band in the spring of 2001 and had week at Ronnie Scott's in London where I holed up in my hotel room during the day to do the bulk of the writing and arranging for this, my second album for Criss Cross. I was still high from the recent birth of my first child, Nikita, and inspiration filled my mind with ideas. I wanted the album to represent certain points of my musical career which I feel in many ways started when I moved from my homeland, Russia, to New York City in 1991. I was especially reflecting on the moods and colors of those earlier years spent performing with the Gil Evans Orchestra and Gil Goldstein's Zebra Coast Orchestra, whose music has greatly influenced and inspired me. Their music represents to me the best of jazz in many aspects, especially their arrangements, and the colors they paint through their voicings. It is in this direction that I am compelled to dedicate myself to develop musically and artistically.

The first song (and also the closer) on the album "Very Early" was written by Bill Evans, which for some reason I associate with the period and the vibe of performing with the Orchestra of Gil Evans and Gil Goldstein. "Reincarnation of a Lovebird" is one of my favorite tunes written by Charles Mingus, which I've had the pleasure of performing numerously with, both the Gil Evans Orchestra as well as the Mingus Big Band. These are two songs that I know well and are a part of me, and although they were written by others I feel I can hear and interpret them, which I feel maintains the original intent of the melody while allowing me to explore them in my own musical concept.

The title track "Hindsight" was my way of tying together my past in jazz with how I conceptualized the present heading towards the future. I wanted each voice to be individual and at first appearing as though they have little connection with each other, complex in structure, weaving around the other voices, sometimes interacting, sometimes colliding, until they all come together later to form a sort of blues. I feel fortunate to be affiliated with the musicians on this album, as well as others I often perform with, and I wanted this piece to represent what I view as an inner circle of the new generation of jazz musicians here in New York.

The other songs, "Upstream," "Linear Passage" and "Second Shot," are all on the same stream of consciousness as the aforementioned three, which leads the overall concept of the album. With these tunes, rooted as far back as in my childhood, I vaguely remember similar melodies that may have been traditional Russian folk songs, and throughout the years they mutated into my own original compositions. If you listen carefully, you may hear elements of their origins. "Second Shot" was entitled after the Russian tradition that in between the first and second shots of vodka, one should not allow too much time to lapse.

Before working on the tunes for the album, I had already approached the musicians featured here and had a good idea of how the music would come out, allowing me to write with their sound in mind. With them, the music manifested naturally from my imagination. I feel very fortunate to be able to perform with such great musicians, not only here on this recording but also in other situations, and I feel great to be in a position to invite them on this album, as I'm comfortable with them both musically and personally.

This album lightly defines a certain period of my life, my present which I share with my wife and son. In recording this, I can see clearly what was going on in the past, separate certain periods of my life, and it gives me perspective to move on.

Alex Sipiagin
Very Early I (from "Hindsight")
Hindsight (from "Hindsight")
Reincarnation of a Lovebird (from "Hindsight")
Linear Passage (from "Hindsight")
Second Shot (from "Hindsight")
Light Blue (from "Hindsight")
Upstream (from "Hindsight")
Very Early - Second Take (from "Live at Birds Eye")

personnel
Alex Sipiagin (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Chris Potter (tenor sax)
Adam Rogers (guitar)
Boris Kozlov (bass)
Gene Jackson (drums)

Produced by Gerry Teekens
Executive Producer: K. Hasselpflug
Recording Engineer: Max Bolleman
Recorded: May 23, 2001

Photography: Gildas Bocle
Cover Design: Gerry Teekens & H. Bloemendaal