Although I had never heard of him to date, looks like reedist Kruglov (sax and flute) acts among the “brightest stars” in contemporary Russian jazz, various connections with Ganelin Trio constituting the most important trait of his resume. What’s heard in Seal Of Time – five tracks recorded both in studio and during a concert – exemplifies the type of joint effort alimented by the parallelism between folk-influenced marches and airs with sections where the freedom from structures and formats becomes the raison d’être of serious blowouts. Other participants are drummer Oleg Udanov, pianist Dmitry Bratukhin, double bassist Ivan Ivanushkin and, in one piece only, vocalist Erzhena Hide. The quality of the live recording is spacious yet not overly detailed, perhaps a single microphone or two capturing the collective’s vibe and resonant qualities. Despite the above mentioned tendencies to instrumental independence, a sense of unconcealed anguish lies behind every tune and improvisation, as if the players knew that there is a temporal limit for all of us to express ideas before some sort of evil power engulfs our positive attitudes. This weighs decisively on the overall sound, the record requiring several tries to completely understand its not exactly serene, but often lyrical temperament.

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