Two Siberians,
Out of Nowhere
(Heads Up, 2005)

Two Siberians -- Yuri Matveyev and Artyom Yakushenko -- have managed to gather some of the world's top jazz musicians onto Out of Nowhere, their first release on the Heads Up label. It is no wonder that stars like Michel Brecker, Richard Bona and Don Byron, to mention only a few, joined the two Russians. The Slavic temperament spiced with electric violin and guitar strikes western audiences as something new, hot and certainly interesting.

However not all the tracks on Out of Nowhere are to be taken too seriously. This does not mean that they are bad, it just means that Russian folk music is often amusing and rather entertaining. Mix it with jazz and you get tracks like "Outpost Radio," "Natasha, Havana," "Vodka Diaries" and "Allergic to Gravity," where Michael Brecker's western-sounding tenor saxophone adds new captivating color to Slavic music.

On the other hand, there are meditative songs like "Amoroso," performed by bassist/vocalist Richard Bona, and "On the Tundra." The title track gives the listener an idea exactly how vast and extensive Siberia really is. Matveyev's guitar is rash and wild while Yakushenko's violin presents the more rational and melodic side of Russian music.

As a whole, the album has many sudden mood swings -- for example, from Cuban-flavored "Natasha, Havana" to idyllic "Amoroso" -- and occasionally they do get annoying. However that's what Russian folk music and jazz are like. Just enjoy the trip to Siberia with world-famous musicians.

by Ester Eggert
9 September 2006

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