The Russian jazz magazine’s pick for May, 2021 edition of the Europe Jazz Media Chart is Roman Stolyar / Andrei Razin «Ballet Scenes for Two Pianos», released by St. Petersburg, Russia-based Bomba-Piter group of labels as a CD and a digital album.
Spotify | Apple Music | Yandex Music (free in Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other countries; paid subscription required elsewhere) | Deezer | CD on the label’s website
Both outstanding pianists can (and do) play jazz, but what they do here belongs to a broader spectrum of styles. Roman Stolyar, born in Siberia and residing in St. Petersburg, is an avid propagator of free improvisation, travels the world with clinics on free improv, and even published the first-ever Russian textbook on the subject, although he was making his living by composing for theatre and film. Andrei Razin, born in Kiev and residing in Moscow, also studied classical composition, but toured the world from the U.S. to China and from Japan to Germany with his Second Approach Trio, which fused composition and free improv. Together, the two unleash an avalanche of notes, motifs and textures, exaggeratedly classical in sound, but pronouncedly improvised and full of implicit irony, sadness, joy and sarcasm.