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Album review: 'Secret Language' 

Sergej Avanesov

"Secret Language"

New Centropezn Music

Growing up in Rostov-on-Don, in the south of Russia, Sergej Avanesov began playing the saxophone at the age of 9. Listening to greats like John Coltrane and Keith Jarrett, he developed a love for jazz. After studying in Russia, at the age of 17 he moved to The Netherlands to study at the Prince Claus Conservatoire with Don Braden. Now living in New York, Avanesov has put together a top-flight band and recorded "Secret Language." Two of his bandmates, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Samvel Sarkisyan, are fellow Russians. The third is the album's second star, pianist John Escreet.

Avanesov is a formidable saxophonist capable of moving easily from sinuous melodic territory to the edge of the avant-garde. He wrote all nine of the album's tunes, which nicely showcase his prowess as a composer. They range from the decidedly mellow title track to the exuberant "14." Escreet, who also solos extensively, is excellent throughout. When he switches from piano to Fender Rhodes on "I Trust You" and "8632," the electronics serve to enrich his evocative, dream-like solos.

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