Ilia Skibinskys' The Passage" presents the listener with an outstanding approach to the recording layout. All nine original compositions are of completely diverse styles: A contemporary jazz composition with a big band feel, a Klezmer/Middle Eastern influence, then followed by an almost classical/cinematic piece featuring a string quartet and so on. Whatever turns the recording takes, the music is deeply rooted in jazz, and the transitions work. All members of the band and its leader are exceptionally talented performers as well, and display outstanding improvisational skills navigating through the different styles. Most importantly, The Passage is filled with a great amount of lyricism, extended forms and advanced harmonic/rhythmic ideas that never get in the way of each other. Sophisticated in its core the music feels simple and communicative.
The Passage is a very impressive debut by the young Israeli/Russian composer and saxophonist Ilia Skibinsky. I have heard a great amount of records by young artists, and can attest that it is quite rare to find the level of compositional maturity I heard in this album." David Binney