Russian-born jazz trumpeter Alex Sipiagin is an adroit trumpet technician and forward-thinking post-bop improviser who has made his mark on the international jazz scene ever since moving to the United States in the early '90s. Alexei "Sasha" Sipiagin was born on June 11, 1967 in Yaroslavl, Russia. Growing up, Sipiagin studied classical trumpet and played in a youth orchestra. At around age 15 he enrolled in a local music school, where he first encountered modern jazz. Inspired to study more jazz, Sipiagin auditioned and was accepted into the Moscow Music Institute at age 16, eventually graduating with his Bachelor's degree in music. After college, Sipiagin's studies were waylaid for two years of compulsory service in the Russian Army, after which he enrolled in the Gnessin Conservatory in Moscow.
In 1990, Sipiagin competed and placed fourth in the Thelonious Monk Institute's International Louis Armstrong Competition in Washington, D.C. He not only won a Bach trumpet, presented to him by legendary jazz trumpeter Clark Terry, but also received much notice by critics and jazz musicians in the States -- so much so that, by 1991, Sipiagin had relocated to New York City. Since that time, he has become not only a sought-after session player and sideman with such ensembles as the Mingus Big Band and bassist Dave Holland's sextet, but a leader in his own right, having recorded several solo albums for the Criss Cross label, beginning with Steppin' Zone in 2001.
In 2008, Sipiagin, ever the adventurous journeyman, released Out of the Circle on Sunnyside, an album with various N.Y.C.-based musicians the trumpeter had not worked with closely before. He returned to Criss Cross in 2009 with the high-energy post-bop of Mirages.
In 2010, Sipiagin paid homage to one of his main influences with Generations: Dedicated to Woody Shaw. A year later, he emerged with the sextet date Destinations Unknown, alongside saxophonists Chris Potter and David Binney. Potter was also on board for Overlooking Moments in 2013. In 2015, he was once again joined by Binney, as well as guitarist Adam Rogers, pianist John Escreet, bassist Matt Brewer, and drummer Eric Harland Balance 38-58. ~ Matt Collar