Alex Sipiagin Sextet
Many people in the jazz world associate trumpeter Alex Sipiagin with the Charles Mingus ghost band, but the albums he has recorded under his own name haven't been especially Mingus-minded, and that is true of Destinations Unknown, which finds the Russian trumpeter leading a sextet that includes Chris Potter on tenor sax, David Binney on alto sax, Craig Taborn on acoustic piano and electric keyboards, Boris Kozlov on upright bass, and Eric Harland on drums. Any album that features Potter extensively is usually worth hearing, and this 2011 recording is no exception. Sipiagin gives Potter plenty of solo space, which is a definite plus; Sipiagin was lucky to have Potter as a sideman. But Binney is an equally valuable contributor to Destinations Unknown, and Sipiagin skillfully oversees a three-horn front line (trumpet and two saxophones) on a session that spotlights original compositions and doesn't contain any standards at all. The post-bop material tends to be on the cerebral side; that is true of "Tempest in the Tea Cup" and "Videlles," as well as "Fast Forward," "Calming," "Next Stop: Tsukiji," and "Fermata Scondola." But like a lot of jazz albums that thrive on complexity and intellect, Destinations Unknown reveals more and more of its charms with each listen. It should be noted that Sipiagin employs both acoustic and electric instruments on this album; the trumpeter isn't shy about letting Taborn solo on electric keyboards as well as acoustic piano. And yet, this release doesn't really venture into fusion territory; despite Taborn's presence on electric keyboards at times, Destinations Unknown is essentially a post-bop album rather than a fusion album. It is also a skillful demonstration of what Sipiagin has to offer as a trumpeter, composer, and group leader.
All Music Guide