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Shara

Koshka

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Album Review

Koshka contains two virtuoso Russian violinists — which isn't bad, considering they're a trio, and the other instrument is guitar. Together they make music that ranges in high style through klezmer, gypsy, Eastern European folk, and neo-classical to gypsy jazz, all played with superb panache. Most of the material comes from Oleg Ponomarev, who's an inspired, complex writer, whether on "Changes," which goes through just that, almost a compendium of classic styles, or "Connie's Swing," which gets its inspiration from the Hot Club of France (indeed, they cover Grappelli's "Souvenir de Villingen"). But far more satisfying is their Eastern European work, like the opener, "Doina," which illustrates their many strengths. Ponomarev and Lev Atlas, the other violinst, playing wonderfully off each other, while guitarist Nigel Clark provides a subtle bed for the music. All too often they manage to sound like five or six musicians, always dazzling, fingers flying — but without the music ever appearing crowded or the melodies becoming lost. With this, their second disc, they've really achieved greatness.

Shara, Koshka
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