Misha Piatigorsky Trio plays brilliant jazz on “Stained Glass and Technicolor Grooves”

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Moscow-born Misha Piatiagorsky is probably not a household name. But audiences familiar with the psychological thriller, “Danika” about a troubled woman’s struggles with everyday life in the face of a worsening mental illness, have heard Piatigorsky’s work in the title character’s theme music.

On his latest album, Piatigorsky keeps up his tradition of creating thought-provoking music. “Stained Glass and Technicolor Grooves” is at turns smooth and tense, cerebral and a bit fun. In short, the work is not to be missed. Working with the trio of Charlie Dougherty on bass, Sam Fishman on drums, and Jeremy Fishman on saxophone on select tracks, the beauty and thought-provoking nature of jazz is not lost. The group has a vibe that makes listeners want to stay in the moments they create.

“Stained Glass and Technicolor Grooves” will be available May 6, 2018. The work will be available on Amazon, Bandcamp, CDBaby, and iTunes.

Misha Piatigorsky Trio

It is no surprise that the work on this latest album came about because a member of the group wanted to bring jazz to where it might be least expected. According to Sam Fishman, the CD captures the first annual “Jazz at the GRJC Concert.” Put another way, Fishman was interested in bringing jazz to his hometown of Glen Rock, New Jersey. And not just any jazz, either. In particular, he wanted to create a New York City Jazz experience in the smaller city.

Fishman further explains that he and Piatigorsky have been acquainted for years. When he began to look around for musicians to work with him on the project, Piatigorsky and the others came to mind.

“Having been immersed in Misha’s original compositions and arrangements, I knew exactly which songs to perform,” Fishman writes.

In addition, Fishman had other musician resources he could add to the ensemble. His longtime friend, Dougherty, and Fishman’s brother, Jeremy.

Fishman explains that he chose Piatigorsky because he was one of the best pianists in the New York jazz scene.

From the sounds of things, each player brings a tremendous amount of confidence and skill to the making of jazz that sticks with listeners long after the CD has played.

About Misha Piatigorsky

Born in Moscow and immigrating to the United States in 1981, Piatigorsky’s career in music was all but decided from a young age. It is no surprise that the young musician earned a full scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music. There, he earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music.

But jazz for Piatigorsky isn’t just a discipline to be studied in academe. It didn’t take long for his work to be recognized by the jazz community at large. In 2004, the pianist won the Thelonious Monk Composers Competition, and by 2007, when his first album was released, it was to critical acclaim.

Piatigorsky recorded 2007’s “Uncommon Circumstance” with the added sounds of Ari Hoenig on drums, and Hans Glawischnig on bass. Alljazz.com describes “Uncommon Circumstance” as a “fusion of urban grooves…with his non-traditional jazz compositions.”

Apparently that is one of the hallmarks of Piatigorsky’s work – – the creation of a groove, and the structuring of arrangements that are at once jazz, but slightly different from what listeners have heard before.

“Pure Imagination” by Misha Piatigorsky Trio

This isn’t the first time the song has been performed by Piaitrgorsky. He had a trio with Peter Klinke and Eric Harland, and with them, he recorded an album of the same name. Apparently, the song has themes that the pianist enjoys returning to.

The “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Theme” never sounded so sophisticated. The melancholy lines of the original are given a spry makeover. They are a bit faster, and while the original lyrical line is interpreted by the piano, the drums and bass add clattering and a nimble rumbling (respectively) that makes the whole song a bit more nuanced and not so melodramatic.

By the time the song is halfway through, the rhythms have quickened, but are still listeners can still dance to it. There is a swing and a spirit of fun and exploration as the players weave in and out of the original idea of the composition and back into the pure spirit of jazz. Toward the end, the song is fast whisper of piano and drum until it fades out, leaving listeners wondering how did such a song occur?

Misha Piatigorsky Trio creates jazz that reminds even the most veteran of jazz listeners of the genre’s spirit. The grooves are indeed, technicolor.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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