Misha Tsiganov, Misha’s Wishes Review
By Sylvannia Garutch
Misha Tsiganov is a pianist who has performed at many international jazz festivals and clubs around the world, such as Carnegie Hall, Blue Note, Dizzy’s, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, National Geographic Concert Hall (Washington DC), BLack Entertainment Television BET (Washington DC), Birdland, Iridium, Minton’s Playhouse, Smoke, 55 Bar, Smalls, Zing Bar, Java Jakarta Jazz Festival (Indonesia), Kansas City Jazz Festival, Topeka Jazz Festival, Barbados Jazz Festival, Panama Jazz Festival, Port-Au-Prince Jazz Festival (Haiti), Naguanagua Jazz Festival (Venezuela), Toulouse Jazz Festival (France), Jazz-Transfer Festival (Germany), St.Croix Jazz Festival, Festival JazzInKiev (Ukraine), Scullers (Boston), Jazz Bakery (Los Angeles), Bird’s Eye (Switzerland), Duc Lombards (France), Jazzkeller (Germany), Half Note Jazz Club (Greece) and many others. In addition, Tsiganov has performed and recorded with such musicians as Clark Terry, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Joe Chambers, Gary Bartz, Hendrik Meurkens, John Faddis, Buster Williams, Claudio Roditi, Richie Cole, Alex Sipiagin, Dave Valentin, Chico Freeman, Jed Levy, Bobby Watson, Donny McCaslin, Victor Lewis, Norman Hedman, Vincent Herring, Johnny Colon, Papo Pepin, Ray Vega, Valeri Ponomarev, Bobby Porchelly, Andy Gonzalez, Steve Berrios, Willie Martinez, Bobby Sanabria, Paul Bollenbeck, Porchinho, Seamus Blake, Myron Walden, Joe Lock, Peter Brainin, Darren Barrett, Graig Handy, John Benitez, Adam Rogers, Dean Brown, Ira Coleman, Billy Drummond, Antonio Sanchez, Gene Jackson, and others. Tsiganov is releasing Misha’s Wishes, released by Criss Cross Jazz records. Joining him is Alex Sipiagin, trumpet, flugelhorn; Seamus Blake, tenor saxophone; Boris Kozlov, bass; and Donald Edwards, drums.
Tsiganov is known for mixing meters, shifting tempos, changing keys, and re-harmonization that ensures ‘that something is happening’ to keep the listener’s attention. The opening track, “Fire Horse,” starts that journey off with a relaxed swing that showcases innovative band hits and orchestrative two-horn writing. The listener will instantly be drawn to Tsiganov’s piano voicings, which have beautiful tensions and spacings. Both Sipiagin and Blake perform melodic solos that build a consistent theme. Tsiganov’s solo is swinging, and his motifs are arching as he climbs up the piano’s register.
“There Was a Birch Tree in the Field, So What” is an exciting mix of modal jazz and a small set of shifting changes. The primarily modal space in the form allows the ensemble to dig into their rhythmic focus with vigor and abandon. Tsiganov’s driving solo syncs with Edwards’ and Kozlov’s pulse as he agilely navigates the form and piano. The interlude has an intricate two-horn passage with activity and snaking lines.
Misha’s Wishes develops an enticing modern jazz appeal from its improvised sections of originality and attention to evolving detail with its ideal original compositions. Tsiganov can successfully create an expansive atmosphere with his interacting ensemble that conveys tenderness and discourse equally. Tsiganov continues to build his catalog of cleverness and intricacy, and these ten selections reflect this focus and achievement.