|PRINTS Liner Note by John Kelman (part 1)|
|12/18/2014 2:25:12 PM - Russian-born trumpeter Alex Sipiagin has been living in New York for nearly two decades, and this year marks watersheds in both his life and, with the release of Prints, his music. "I turn forty this year," he says, "and I feel very lucky as I can see my plans slowly coming to fruition - though, of course, they're not completely fulfilled." |
The past year was also meaningful in that it was Sipiagin's first opportunity to return to Russia since moving to the United States in 1990. "Russia has changed so much," says Sipiagin, "and coming back to Russia, I realized that I was born into such a huge culture witha remarkable history. I traveled to places like Solovki, where Alexandr Solzhenitsyn was imprisoned. It's a little island, very isolated, and it was a monastery for 600 years before being transformed into a Russian jail. Now it's back to being a peaceful monastery where people can respect the history.
"The title of the album came from that visit. All these amazing people - poets, musicians, artists - who were totally innocent ended up in this jail and were killed. You could see the prints of the souls of these people everywhere. There is such a special energy, especially now that it is back to being a monastery and everything is so peaceful. When I left in 1990 it was still the Soviet Union; everything was gray. Now I look back and I can't even recognize my home town of Yaroslav. It looks like a little Paris, it's so beautiful."
Previous recordings by Sipiagin, including 2005's Returning and 2004's Equilibrium, were conceived following tours with the late saxophonist Michael Brecker and legendary bassist Dave Holland, respectively. "I'm most inspired when I'm traveling," explains Sipiagin. "When I'm at home I create musical sketches and then just leave them alone. You get different moods from different countries, and different melodies come to mind."
Sipiagin has learned a lot from extensive work, in addition to Holland and Brecker, with the Mingus Big Band, the smaller Mingus Dynasty, and time spent with the groups of arranger/bandleaders Gil Evans and Gil Goldstein. But it's the cadre of New York musicians that has grown over the past two decades and includes all the players on this date - bassist Scott Colley, pianist David Kikoski, saxophonist Chris Potter and drummer Antonio Sanchez - with whom Sipiagin has learned the most and been able to develop his unique approach to composition.
"I was very lucky," says Sipiagin, "when I first moved to New York. I met (saxophonist) David Binney and Scott, and we started getting together at Scott's place a few times a week, trying out different things. It was the first time I was introduced to really difficult music, with complicated meters and changes."
Sipiagin's writing on Prints represents his strongest and deepest to date; more detailed and complex even though it doesn't necessary sound that way: "I try to create contexts where everyone can best express themselves. I want to create stories where there's a melody that emerges, not just a collectino of notes or phrases."
| Liner Note by John Kelman||
| ||This package IS designed for those who are interested in my pre-existing compositions, as well as allowing a bird's eye view of the new compositions as they form and progress for "Out of the Circle."|
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