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Ttaango...In Nickelsdorf

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Album Review

One of the missions Leo Feigin, founder of Leo Records, set for himself with his label was the dissemination of the music of improvising Russian musicians who had garnered very little prior exposure in the West. Ganelin Trio, led by keyboardist Vyacheslav Ganelin, was one of the primary bands in this venture. This live double LP is a representative sample of their work, although it differs somewhat from their previous oeuvre in that Ganelin is heard in some of his earliest explorations of the synthesizer. To some extent, the group takes as its model Cecil Taylor's early-'60s trio with Jimmy Lyons and Sonny Murray. Aside from the similar instrumentation, the trio's use of space and lengthy explorations, not to mention aspects of Ganelin's piano playing, owe something to Taylor. But Ganelin's style is rooted more in European Romanticism, allowing for more fluid and "pretty" episodes, and he also retains a unique sense of playfulness and wit. His synthesizer work is effective, used more as atmosphere enhancer and abstract sound source than as a psychedelic organ. Tarasov's soprano and alto contributions are wry and slippery and Chekasin's percussion is fleet and precise, but both tend to be in supportive roles to Ganelin, who is clearly the driving force. Issued in a limited edition of 500 on LP.


Formed: 1971

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s

The late Soviet Union was not renowned for its contributions to jazz, but it did produce at least one notable group, for in the '70s and '80s the Ganelin Trio was arguably the world's greatest free jazz ensemble. Comprised of pianist Vyacheslav Ganelin, saxophonist Vladimir Chekasin, and drummer Vladimir Tarasov, the trio's mostly improvised music was as emotionally intense as anything being created in the U.S. — or anywhere else — at the time. The three members were extraordinarily skilled,...
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Ttaango...In Nickelsdorf, The Ganelin Trio
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