This album features a rediscovered collection of themes by prolific Russian film composer Mikael Tariverdiev (1931-1996). This forms part of Earth Recordings' laudable mission to bring Tariverdiev’s musical vision to a wider audience.
The tapes contradict the composer's own claim that he had no great fondness for jazz. This statement probably has something to do with the fact that the genre is often regarded with suspicion in the Soviet Union.
The varied tonality of the record is due to the fact that the tracks have been transferred from original tapes of different eras and conditions that were kept in Tariverdiev's apartment in Moscow.
The recordings reveal that, buried safely within soundtracks to cinema and TV movies of the 1960s and 1970s, Tariverdiev was relatively free to follow his muse on piano and keyboard. His wife Vera says that this album is an accurate reflection of his life-long love of improvisation.
The jive groove of the six minute opening tune,Playing Together, sets the tone with a simple but highly effective piano, double bass and saxophone arrangement.
Ten of the fourteen pieces are between just one and three minutes in duration and evidently designed to accompany movie and TV scenes. Of these, only the frenzied and disjointed Visions and the funky sax beats of Black and White break the overall mood of mellow refinement.
Moscow has (uncredited) female vocals but all the other tracks are instrumentals so we never get to hear Tariverdiev's distinctive baritone voice. The elegance of the playing goes some way to compensate for this and the swinging closing tune - All That Jazz - confirms beyond doubt the overriding musical direction represented on this album.
Hear the album at Bandcamp