Arseny Rykov Trio’s Forgotten Melody: April 2021 Russia’s Pick for EJM Chart

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Arseny Rykov Trio: Dmitry Olshansky, Vitaly Epov, Arseny Rykov (photo © Ivan Pustovalov)
Arseny Rykov Trio: Dmitry Olshansky, Vitaly Epov, Arseny Rykov (photo © Ivan Pustovalov)
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Arseny Rykov Trio “Forgotten Melody” (Rainy Days Records)

Is 25 too early for a debut album a jazz pianist’s original music of on an internationally-distributed label? Not if your name is Arseny Rykov, you graduated from the Russian Academy of Music jazz program, studied and performed all over Europe, and collected several prizes for original jazz compositions at major competitions in your country even as a graduate student. The album itself was a prize, won as a certificate for a studio session at a jazz competition in 2019, when Arseny was barely 23. His music, and the level of his interaction with fellow Academy graduates Nikolai Olshansky on the bass and Vitaly Epov on the drums, impressed producer Sasha Mashin (himself an accomplished jazz drummer) so much that he volunteered to produce, record, and mix the album for Rainy Days Records. Highly recommended if the listener’s taste includes the moody, subtle, and sublime edge of European jazz piano trio format. (Anna Filipieva, Jazz.Ru Magazine)

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Arseny Rykov’s Forgotten Melody, released on April 2, 2021, is a stunningly contemplative and innovative work, featuring new and original compositions from Rykov. The composer draws from elements of the third-stream as well as from the styles of such heralded contemporary jazz pianists as Robert Glasper and Brad Mehldau to weave narratives of doubt, anxiety, and evolution. The composer and bandleader notes “From my point of view, an artist has a big responsibility in front of the audience. The responsibility of being sincere, honest, and consistent in what one creates and says. I want to believe that my music is able to unite people. Especially such multicultural and international music as contemporary jazz.” Alongside Rykov, Forgotten Melody features bassist Nikolai Olshansky and drummer Vitaliy Epov.

The trio plays original music and has a recognizable style which is based on the interaction between the musicians as well as on the dense but informative structures of compositions. “There are a lot of influences in my music but there are two styles that made the biggest impact on me: ECM and classical music, particularly impressionists and Russian composers,” explains Arseny. For the trio music is not only the way to express themselves but also the way to bring people together and make them think about what is going on around the world during this epoch of social and moral anxiety.

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