COMPOSERS: Raykhelson
LABELS: Toccata
ALBUM TITLE: Raykhelson
WORKS: Jazz Suite; Little Symphony for Strings; Reflections; Adagio
PERFORMER: Igor Butman (saxophone), Eduard Zizak (drums), Elena Revich (violin), Yuri Golubev (bass), Igor Raykhelson (piano); Moscow Soloists/Yuri Bashmet (viola)
Back in the 1920s, composers such as Gershwin, Antheil, Milhaud and Stravinsky were able to create a convincing fusion of so-called classical and jazz elements in their music. More recently, however, attempts to bridge these two musical idioms have been far less convincing, the results often sounding stiff or opportunistically commercial. Fortunately none of these criticisms can be levelled against the Russian?born pianist and composer Igor Raykhelson whose seven?movementJazz Suite featuring the distinctive talents of saxophonist Igor Butman and charismatic violist Yuri Bashmet, must be regarded as one of the most exhilarating and inventive works of its kind.The secret rests with Raykhelson’s striking harmonic language, owing something to Shostakovich but also permeated with jazz inflections, and strongly memorable melodic ideas. These gifts also stand him in particularly good stead in the more introspective Reflections for violin, viola and strings and the Adagio for viola and strings, both projected with evident affection by the work’s original performers. Structurally theLittle Symphony for Strings may ramble in places, though once again the combination of Raykhleson’s natural fluency, the persuasive playing of the Moscow Soloists and fine engineering sweeps away any lingering doubts.