Hamburg Concert


The first CD that documents the Moscow Art Trio’s live work. It contains the recording of an inspired concert on the NDR radio studio in Hamburg in 1996.

First CD documenting the Trio’s work. Recording of an inspired concert in the NDR radio studio in Hamburg in 1996. One of the best Jazz-Trio-CDs ever recorded!

Hamburg Concert

When the “iron curtain” rose, a scene of creative musicality came into view, the product of a highly independent course of development. Since then, in the area of jazz, surprising new impulses have continued to emanate from the countries of the former Soviet Union. The pianist Mikhail Alperin masters the art of absorbing the most diverse signals from the multifarious range of Eastern cultures and passing them on, enriched with his own interpretation.

Mikhail Alperin was born in the Ukraine, grew up in Moldavia, worked in Moscow and presently lives in Norway. Essentially he is a jazz musician, but one for whom musical borders (as well as those between countries) are evidently there to be crossed: Alperin is not content with jazz alone. He is a musical cosmopolite who helps himself to the music of the world with natural ease, incorporating it into his conception of jazz.

Musicians of the former USSR have played a significant role in merging jazz with folkloristic motifs. The cultural policies of the USSR expressed an interest (to put it mildly) in the combination of jazz and native strains. In reality, Russian musicians had no choice but to create a new style. A kind of folk-jazz resulted, open in all directions and clearly permeated with avant-garde forms.

Mikhail Alperin and his Moscow Art Trio base their work on jazz, integrating folk motifs in a manner both genuine and playful, constructively and confidently expanding musical language to inaugurate a new category somewhere between jazz, free improvisation and the chamber music avantgarde.

When Alperin founded the trio in 1990 as a fixed constellation he conciously chose musicians with differing musical backgrounds: While Alperin regards himself as a jazz musician, Arkady Shilkloper, a former member of the Bolshoi Theatre orchestra, has a classical background; Sergey Starostin’s inclination for and exhaustive study of traditional music makes him a specialist in that area.

The poetic jazz of Mikhail Alperin’s Moscow Art Trio picks up Moldavian, Georgian and Russian themes, playfully mixing their ritual character — now strongly rhythmical, now pronouncedly meditative — with spirited flights. Boogie-woogie figures may flash up in the distance, but the sounds are always borne by the cheeky freedom of the avant-garde and always ready to try out something new: Repetitions, wild outbreaks, moments of stillness and pretty melodies discover common ground in this music.

The Moscow Art Trio’s spectrum is exceedingly wide: It travels musically to the border of China, paints with Impressionist colours, plays a tricky Russian wedding dance. Alperin has possessed his receptivity to unusual sounds for a long time. He was already co-operating with Tuvinian singers in the early 90s, a time when the star of Tuvinian song, Sainkho (Namchulak) — today a common name on the world music charts — and the strange and joyful overtone style from the republic on the border to Mongolia were still little-known. Alperin recently continued this work with the Tuvinian ensemble Huun-Huur-Tu and the Bulgarian Voices Angelite, paving the way for an encounter between the liveliness of overtone song and the mysterious radiant power of the Bulgarian women’s voices. The music of the Moscow Art Trio is similarly enriched: not with exotic trinkets, tacked on as decoration, but with delicate nuances, imbedded homogeneously in the group sound.

The Moscow Art Trio — three musicians and a fascinating three-way relationship between loyalty to tradition, openness to the world and joy in experimentation.


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