New Generation Quartet - Dances

Mike Szajewski, WNUR

Through its recent releases, Ayler Records has demonstrated an astounding ability to provide its listeners with an unthinkably diverse set of albums, spanning both the globe and the history of avant-garde jazz, and this set is certainly no exception. 

The elder-statesman of the quartet here is drummer Sergei Belichenko, who, now in his 60’s, has been an active member of the Eastern European jazz scene for decades.  Having collaborated with Ganelin Trio reed player Vladimir Chekasin, Belichenko has demonstrated a knack for both outside and inside playing throughout the years. 

This is evident on Dances, where, in some cases, he abandons the traditional free jazz drumming mentality, sounding more like a slightly quirky Buddy Rich than, say, Sunny Murray.  Following suit is saxophonist Vladimir Timofeev, who’s a good 20 years Belichenko’s junior, showing a liking to a warm hard bop tone just as often as a gut-wrenching free jazz honk.

Equally swinging and complex, the trio’s music explores a rolling landscape of musical peeks and valleys, from the frantic to the exquisitely lyric.

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