Kogan's Big City

Bruce Von Stiers

Igor Kogan is a bassist, composer and bandleader. He is set to release his album In A Big City.

The album was composed for a jazz quintet. It features nine songs and has a play time of a bit over an hour. It is being self released. Even though he's recorded before, including the album Revival - World Home Jazz Orchestra, this album marks Kogan's debut quintet recording.

The inspiration for the album comes from Kogan's own experiences living in big cities in different parts of the world. He was born and partially grew up in Russia. Kogan moved to Israel as a teenager and then later moved to the U.S and lived in New York City. After spending several years in New York, Kogan moved to Los Angeles, where he continued to hone his skills as a composer, band leader and bassist.

For the album, Kogan has assembled a top notch group of musicians. Jeremy Lappitt is on tenor saxophone. He's a member of the American Idol orchestra /band, is a member of the Brian Setzer Orchestra and even played at Justin Bieber's wedding. Joshua Aguiar plays the trumpet and flugelhorn on the album. Aguiar has played and recorded with a number of bands and orchestras, including the David Ricard Big Band. Originally from Rome, Italy, Marco Apicella studied under Russell Ferrante and Bob Mintzer. Apicella shares his talent on piano for this album. Matthew Baker is the drummer for the quintet on the album. He's played with a number of bands both in Europe and the U.S. And Kogan plays the bass for the album.

One special guest on the album is Tierney Sutton. She is a multi-year Grammy nominated jazz vocalist. I've reviewed two of her albums, Blue In Green and Something Cool.

Takeoff is the first song on the album. It is a head bopping piece with strong bass and great horn music. Each performer gets a chance to shine in different parts of the song.

The title of the second song is a bit different. It is Qwerty aka False Start. It is a fast paced tune with great saxophone, trumpet and bass. Notes for the song say that it emotes “feelings of unsettled emotions” with things that weren't anticipated in the pursuit of life in a big city.

Expectations is a song that has great trumpet in front of nice piano, bass and drums. It was written to be an uplifting piece and I think it succeeds.

Illumination is a soft and gentle ballad with subtle bass and horn, with a twinkle of piano.

Someone rushing down a street in a big hurry might be something you'd visualize when hearing Emergency Call. Or possibly trying to reach someone in a stressful situation. The song has some tense sounding moments and an overall fast pace.

Bass Introduction is exactly what the title suggests. It is a bass solo that leads right into the next son New York Blues. That song has a strong bass presence. Although the bass is foremost in the song, there is a lighter, more carefree tone, kind of like a New Yorker “fuggettabouitt” attitude.

Vocalise is a piece, which as the title might suggest, has vocals. But the song doesn't have lyrics, just soothing harmonization. The song features Tierney Sutton. It is a great song, although I wish it had some actual lyrics for Tierney to sing, as she is a fantastic vocalist. The song also features some fantastic flugelhorn.

The final song on the album is Big City. It has some strong bass at the start. Then the horns, drum and piano come in, making for certain sound that one might think of frenzied life in a big city.

In A Big City is an album rich in content. There is great saxophone, trumpet, flugelhorn and piano. And, even though he is the band leader and bassist, Kogan's compositions didn't prominently feature the bass. And the addition of Tierney Sutton was a major boost as well.

In A Big City is set to release August 25th, 2020. You can order the album through Kogan's web site or through other online and traditional music outlets.

Igor Kogan's official web site is https://www.koganigormusic.com/

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© 2020 Bruce E Von Stiers