There's an inspiring story behind this album: guitarist Yuri Matveyev and violinist Artyom Yakushenko grew up in the Siberian town of Irkutsk, where they were eventually brought together by their obsession with their instruments and their love of a wide variety of music. Their wildly energetic jazz-folk-rock performances earned them enthusiastic audiences (but not much money) in their native region, so they traveled to New York, where an American fan of theirs was also a music industry figure. Despite a rapturous response from audiences in clubs and on the streets of Manhattan, no record deal was forthcoming, so their American friend sold some of his assets and produced the record himself, recruiting such sidemen as clarinetist Don Byron, saxophonist Michael Brecker, and percussionist Mino Cinelu. This album is the result, and it's a delight. From the klezmer-flavored "And Then, Nika..." to the Latin grooves of "Natasha, Havana" and "Indigo Breeze," and from the spare textures of Matveyev's impressive guitar solo "Cagey Bee" (har, har) to the lush beauty of the title track, this is an album that inspires whether or not you know the story behind it. One or two tracks get just a bit long-winded and overblown, but for the most part the music is tight, original, and strangely hooky. All of it is extremely well played.
Out of Nowhere Review
by Rick Anderson