Dmitry Baevsky: Soundtrack

Alto saxophonist Baevsky, sounding like a redacted Konitz, lends an optimistic and constructive tone to a set of standards

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Given its pervasiveness the modern bop tradition doesn’t seem likely to spring any future surprises, but that’s not really an issue when its practitioners are as persuasive as Dmitry Baevsky, who up to a point springs from the well of Lee Konitz, albeit with a greater tendency for understatement. On works by a range of composers from Ahmad Jamal to Ornette Coleman he leaves the listener in little doubt as to his identity, but what’s also clear is that his art is a work in process, which in many respects is just as it should be.

His own Evening Song is hardly a barnstorming opener, but then such ill-measured goings-on are not what he’s all about. Instead he sets out his stall as a musician of no little consideration, even in his double-timing. The trio of Patton, bassist David Wong and drummer Pete Van Nostrand are with him all the way, though not to the point where the polish obliterates the finer feelings.

Dexter Gordon’s Le Coiffeur receives a sympathetic, finely measured treatment that for all its merits undermines its inherent joy of life somewhat, until Baevsky solos, that is, when almost instantaneously the clouds of everyday life part, and for the solo’s duration the world is a happier place than it is in reality.

Given the state of this world You Must Believe In Spring takes on greater titular substance. The notion of a work in progress that I refer to above is apparent here in the sense that one can almost hear at one and the same time not only Baevsky’s solo but also the potential he has for developing solo structure with some deep listening and the passing of time.

John Lewis’s Afternoon In Paris is loose, lithe, and to all intents and purposes unburdened by cares. Wong’s solo is on the money, and the quartet’s performance overall is that of a group intent on realising the joys of making music together with no agenda in mind other than one of their own devising.

Discography
Evening Song; Vamos Nessa; Baltiyskaya; Grand Street; The Jody Grind; La Chanson De Maxence; Over And Out; Le Coiffeur; Invisible; Autumn In New York; Stranger In Paradise; Tranquility; Afternoon In Paris (65.52)
Baevsky (as); Jeb Patton (p); David Wong (b); Pete Van Nostrand (d). New Jersey, 25 November 2019.
Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 618