Zhenya Strigalev Trio

Review and photo by Lance Liddle from Bebop Spoken Here, 15 July 2016

Zhenya Strigalev Trio

Zhenya Strigalev Trio

Zhenya Strigalev (alto/electronics); Michael Janisch (bs. gtr/electronics); Marc Ayza (dms)

All the tables were occupied, and so they should be, for this cosmopolitan power trio (Russian, American, Spanish respectively) gave a blistering performance that went straight for the jugular almost at once. I say almost as the opening few bars of Moonlight Serenade caused an eyebrow or two to be raised. Moonlight Serenade quickly gave way to that other Glenn Miller favourite – In the Mood. This was an In the Mood the like of which you’ve never heard before! Frantic, wild – if Miller had played it like this the Luftwaffe would have headed for home and the safety of Beethoven and Brahms without a bomb being dropped – at least not by them!
Strigalev is an amazing alto player taking the instrument to distant galaxies conquering the universe like an improvising Genghis Khan. Spurred on by Janisch and Ayza and aided by delays, reverbs and other forms of electronic wizardry this was truly an ‘out of body’ experience!
At the finale of the piece, there was a split second of silence before the audience, realising they’d landed safely, erupted with vociferous applause.
And so it continued, free improv. hard bop, fusion, jazz rock, Latin were all in the mix – sometimes simultaneously.
Although Strigalev’s English is better than my Russian, indeed some may say it’s better than my English, I didn’t always catch the titles. There was one about taking off your socks (I think) with lots of electronic effects, a nod towards Sonny Rollins with Some Thomas (sic) a jaunty rhythm with a drum solo that was above and beyond ‘jaunty’! and, to close the set, I Am Illegible?
A bottle of Hobgoblin, a word with Michael Janisch who, incidentally, had some awesome moments on bass guitar, raffle drawn, band reassembled then once more we were off to the races.
Georgia In My Mind based, not on Hoagy’s classic but on Sweet Georgia Brown. This Georgia Brown certainly “knocked ’em dead”. Wondering About Swing began swingingly before moving in a not unpleasant contemporary direction. Others included more originals such as Strange Party; Underage and Happy Professors.
Truly an inspirational gig.