Friday 25 October 2013

Zhenya Strigalev - Centrifugal kookiness

Zhenya Strigalev - Alto Saxophone
If this writing takes a surreal turn then forgive me, for it is neither an over exuberance of peyote nor an attack of the Dali's but in truth an exposure to the radioactive world of Zhenya Strigalev that has infected my brain. It you haven't ever experienced the Strigalev phenomena then lets say he is idiosyncratic and well worth dipping your soldiers in his soft boiled egg.

Mark Lewandowski - Bass
Joining him on stage during the final session (12/10/2013) of the Whirlwind festival was Jason Yarde, Ben Brown and Mark Lewandowski. The latter already taking a turn at the Kings Place on Rachael Cohen's album launch the previous day. He played the straight man to his leaders goon, puffing out both cheeks and raising an eyebrows or two because of the unpredictable shifts of music and Strigalev's opening monologues.

Ben Brown - Drums
Yes the bright and vibrant Zhenya Strigalev puts the kook into his opening tune "Cuckoo". His saxophonic diction like a rapid chatterbox who had just left the asylum. In the spirit of the man I jumped into his world with both feet, but others were more circumspect. Maybe it the nature of the beast that those in the eye of the Whirlwind remain calm. Ben Brown on drums is one who displayed remarkable restraint. He has a poetic delicate balance and bounce with sticks in hand.

Jason Yarde - Saxophones

"Unlimited Source of Pleasure" and Zhenya Strigalev's final tune were marmite watersheds for many in the audience but as an artist this was the sort of performance that butters my bread. Strigalev is thick and winding like a yoyo unravelling in slow motion, Jason Yarde joins him on stage, freewheeling, breaking apart, a whirling explosion of centrifugal jazz. Yarde is now the mechanic, building , fixing as Strigalev breaks, rolling his neck like an athlete, even jogging on the spot.

Despite the entrance of Sebastian Scotney with his vaudeville hook nothing is going to stop Zhenya Strigalev and his quartet. Yarde joins his partner in the destruction of the Whirlwind's tidy timekeeping, Strigalev is so engrossed and reaching for that final ounce of expression he squats like a chicken, elbows jutting and still he blows. Imagine an expressive Clarice Cliff tea set, full of colour and zest, now think of it in a hundred shards after smashing at your feet. This is Zhenya Strigalev and that was the sound of Jazz's Antique Roadshow falling off its pedestal.


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