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The Number Pi - Four Corners

The Number Pi create music that is warm, vibrant, and packed with energy. The power ensemble of The Number Pi is just one example of how Russian musicians continue to create incredible sounds under difficult situations, not least of which is how they are perceived by the wider world.

The Number Pi are Boris Ionov on drums, Dmitri Fomin on bass, Siman Abuev on trumpet, Ego Shamanin on tenor saxophone, Odie Al-Magut on trombone, Albert Fokin on keyboards, Alexey Poulakis on guitar and Veronika Shramko on vocals

Together, they create a sound that is diverse, driven, and wonderful in its roundness, explosivity and adventurous spirit. ‘Four Corners’ is out on Jazzist.

‘Mystery’ opens with high energy, driving rhythms and beats that make you move. The energy and fullness of the sound are all-encompassing, with heavily worked keys, and beautiful, repeated phrasing from the soloists – which is just about everyone at one point or another- around which the rest of the ensemble weave and rolls. This is just over seven minutes of pleasure with deft changes in rhythms, changes in time signatures, and even a couple of swiftly muffled key changes. An absolute blast of a track.

‘Four Corners’ then ups the pleasure even more with its cyclonic deluges of provocative, intriguing sounds, which roll into each other with each change. The sax solo is immersive and surrounded by a fully supportive ensemble before the sax rolls in with a dreamlike solo across the top leading into a change in pace and a deeply layered final section.

‘I’m Better than Art’ is a contrast in tone and atmosphere with melodic phrases looping and linking over the gentle, emotive piano. A set of ensemble blasts are followed by gentle, profound, peaceful phrases from the guitar and then, well then, the guitar and drums enter into a dialogue, joined by keys and bass in a conversant section before all goes quiet and drops down several gears again – until the end, which will leave you in no doubt as to the energy of this band.

‘Temptation’ is a gutsy, rollicking soulful piece, with bass as a prominent feature, teaming with the drums to create thundering phrases, matched in harmonics by the keyboard for a while, before the ensemble create complexities until the sax and drums emerge in duet temporarily before the rest of the band offer up deluges of sound, which only serve to enhance the sax lines, which slide neatly into the breaks. The track develops a head of steam with keyboards, horns, and guitars slicing into each other, crafting and shaping the sounds, which roll like a restless titan, loud, proud, and luscious.

‘Anxiety’ is tense, choppy and features a kaleidoscope of changes and the vocals of Shramko, which are quite beautiful. ‘ The Number Pi’ follows and this is a track of many parts – filled with almost shamanic spirituality and energy, the trumpet of Abuev providing an entertaining solo line in the middle section but full credit to the entire ensemble for the power that explodes here, particularly in the swinging thrust of the ending.

‘On Tip Toe’ is a broiling, atmospheric number with full-throttle lyricism, offset by thunking drums, an excellent guitar voice-out, and the chromatic intertwining of mellifluous miasmas which infect the listener.

There is such energy, drive, and intensity in this ensemble and they are one of the tightest I have heard for a long time. The sound is, not to put too fine a point on it, incredible. From the way the vocals and instruments interact on ‘Anxiety’ to the monstrous sax lines and the huge, swelling of the bass – an instrument which features heavily in this ensemble, adding a dark tone to some of the tracks and a well-tuned heaviness that is beautiful. That these are consummate musicians is clear, and that they interact and bounce off each other is also clear. There is power, drive, swing, jazz, funk, genre-fluidity, and sheer beauty. Rarely on a single album do you get that feeling where the music takes you soaring and on this album it happens time and time again with the soloists.

Not in a long time have I listened to music that instantly creates a sense of uplifting wellness. I am just one reviewer but I like this and commend it to you.

Music and arrangements by The Number Pi

Music consultant: Lev Trofimov

Recorded at Igor Matvienko Studio in 2017 Recording engineer, mixing, editing, mastering: Ilya Lukashev Assistant: Sergey Ryabov Sound design and synthesis: Denis Kudryashov

Thanks to Alexey Shubin for providing Wurlitzer and Rhodes, as well as for tuning the keyboards.

Design by Victor Melamed Executive Producer: Araik Hakobyan


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