Alex Kontorovich makes a sizzling debut as a leader on his CD Deep Minor. The Russian born, New York based reedman cleverly fuses a multitude of influences for an electrifying romp of Afro-Klezmer-Jazz. An expert in martial arts, math professor at Brown University, and classically trained musician, Kontorovich is in high demand, adding to numerous jazz and klezmer groups known in New York and abroad.
The first track on Deep Minor is "Transit Strike Blues", a fiery mix of blues and klezmer misheberach mode with Kontorovich on clarinet and Seabrook on banjo leading the way before Alexander and Radding join in. Seabrook’s banjo adds a percussive twang to the mix of Deep Minor, and is utilized in unimaginable ways throughout the CD. "Kandels Burning" is a tribute to the klezmer music pioneer Harry Kandel, on which Kontorovich soars with his saxophone that seems to conjure the spirit of Coltrane. Turning to electric guitar on "New Orleans Funeral March", Seabrook hovers like a ghost as Kontorovich, Radding and Alexander move through a free-jazz whirl before returning to its haunting conclusion. Another highlight of Deep Minor is "Sirba", which not only displays the endurance of Kontorovich, but the impeccable control of time and rhythm by Alexander and Radding as they pass from slow meditative states to all out, heart stopping tempo, and back again, and again. "AfroJewban Suite" is another melding of world styles with modern jazz. Radding and Alexander lay the foundation upon which Kontorovich and Seabrook build imaginative solos. "Tzitzit" is anything but an ornamental piece hanging on the fringe of Deep Minor. It’s an in-your-face summation of the whole CD, complete with klezmer and jazz tributes to the great pioneers of both, swirling together in a screaming clarinet, percussive banjo, and the driving bass and drums.
Deep Minor is an offering of world music fused by klezmer music and modern jazz. Alex Kontorovich blends Eastern Europe with New York energy for ride of exciting diversity.