Wed May 2, 2018

Zhenya Strigalev Never Group (RU/GB/USA)

Zhenya Strigalev: alto saxophone
Boris Netsvetaev: piano
Michael Janisch: bass
Jon Scot: drums
Tom Harrison: alto box

St Petersberg-born Strigalev is a fixture of the London scene, a bandleader, composer and player of some of the finest, most intense saxophone in town. On this live release he steps away from his usual outfit, Smiling Organism, to lead a starry trio featuring drummer Eric Harland, bassist Linley Marthe and the Chilean guitarist Federico Dannemann. Oh, and to follow a new muse: jazz-loving septuagenarian and fellow Londoner Maggie Black, who — if these seven original tracks are anything to go by — likes her music inventive, fluent and thrilling. Strigalev has long had a knack for conjuring big, frisky statements out of tight starting blocks; here he does precisely that with two saxes, an effects-laden “alto box” and three talents who’ve got his back. Serious fun. (Jane Cornwell)