By Kerilie McDowall | Published October 2019
Jazz freely transcends global borders on 19-year-old Russian prodigy Makar Kashitsyn’s stellar debut, Jazz Animals.
Over seven tracks, the Manhattan School of Music student exudes confidence, taking charge as a virtuosic, driven altoist with five expressive modern post-bop originals. A track each is contributed by tenor saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, who performs on several tracks here, and composer Nikita Mochalin. Hipster modal expositions, looped motifs, harmonious horns, catchy hooks and dueling alto and tenor lines show off the bandleader’s keen intuition and technical prowess.
“Our Song” captures Kashitsyn’s deft explorations, beautifully kicking it up on EWI-ish wah-wah. Guitarist Alexey Polubabkin’s groove segues to Hiske Oosterwijk’s mesmerizing scatting, while Josh Evans’ flugelhorn jam adds cleverly harmonically altered riffs.
Flashing back to just 30 years ago, a blissful Russian-American collaboration would have been difficult to imagine. But the partnership, unified within the parameters of the jazz language, finds Kashitsyn’s admirable international collective offering up an inspired set.
Jazz Animals: Jazz Animals; Going To Ekaterinburg; Confession; Song For Chad; Our Song; Time To Forget; Phone Call. (64:35)
Personnel: Makar Kashitsyn, alto saxophone; Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, tenor saxophone; Josh Evans, trumpet (1, 3,), flugelhorn (5); Sasha Mashin, drums; Hiske Oosterwijk, vocals (5, 6, 7); Alexey Polubabkin, guitar (1, 3, 5); Alexey Podymkin, piano, Rhodes; Makar Novikov, bass, electric bass.