Dmitri Kolesnik

Blues for Dad

Boheme Music CDBMR 103207

Alex Sipiagin, trumpet & Flugelhorn; Eric Alexander. tenor sax; Andrei Kondakov, piano; Dmitri Kolesnik, bass; Lenny White, drums

To create instrumental music that tells a story takes a special love of the story. Bassist, Dmitri Kolesnik mostly succeeds in that effort with his new CD, Blues for Dad.

This CD is a thank-you from a son to a father. Kolesnik grew up in Saint Petersburg, formally Leningrad, where before perestroika his father, an amateur pianist with a passion for American Jazz, enjoyed listening to the black-market tapes secreted into the Soviet Union from the West.

Every night young Dmitri fell asleep to a precious tape of Oscar Peterson. This was the one Jazz album the father owned. Later, his father brought Dmitri, now a teenager, a guitar and taught him Jazz theory. They developed a musical partnership playing and listening to Jazz. When Kolesnik came to America to pursue studies as a Jazz bassist, he never forgot the musical gift his father gave him. To show his gratitude he composed the music for this album.

Kolesnik composes with swinging rhythms and enticing harmonies that create a tight musical structure. His compositions are lyrical, sweeping, and dramatic. The music is immediate. They have melodies that could be sung. He also has an ear for big-band music, and one can hear this in his two of his compositions, "Home" and "Giving Rise to Doubt."

Blues for Dad works as a whole because Kolesnik wisely chose musicians who were able to make his vision a reality, especially the exquisite rhythms of drummer Lenny White. A longtime presence on the Jazz scene, White is under appreciated as a percussionist and drummer of the first order. His originality comes through in his precise, often understated shadings of the melody line and his marvelous choice of tempos. His delicate and precise fills are enchanting, especially in Andrei Kondakov's composition, "New York Wind."

Trumpeter and flugelhornist Alex Sipiagin has an alluring, elastic tone. At times he plays so lovely it causes the listener to want to place an ear as close as possible to the speaker.

Eric Alexander is the tenor man on this CD. The hip, Dexter Gordon solo he gives in "Giving Rise to Doubt" is energetic and fresh. He gives, Blues for Dad a dark and sexy blues edge.

Pianist Andrei Kondakov, who is the CD's coproducer, lays out delicate and thoughtful lines evoking a Bill Evans feeling.

The album opens up with, "Blues for Dad," Kolesnik's least complex but certainly most heartfelt composition. Here one can listen to the first conversation between father and son. It's hip, boisterous, and colorful with a slight call-and-response cadence. There is a joyful merriment between the sax and trumpet. By the end of the piece everyone seems to be having a good time.

On the opposite end is the refined composition, "White Nights, Gray Days." The voicing is elegant. There is gorgeous interplay between rhythm and harmony. This sweet song could lull a baby to sleep.

One hears the gratitude Kolesnik feels for his father for passing on to him the gift of Jazz. He is able to do what most artists strive to do-touch us with the integrity of his story. He has the ability to make his feelings known by passing on to us his father's legacy.

By Ayana Lowe and George Chieffet