By Reed I. Hadley
The audience at NYC's legendary jazz spot Birdland were pleasantly surprised to experience the music of Jazzical Fusion, a new collective of jazz and classically-trained musicians featuring bandleader Maestro Martin Piecuch (woodwinds), Regan Ryzuk (piano) and Ron Murray on 7-string guitar, along with special guest Artie Dixon (drums).
The trio/quartet performance mixes classical music, modern jazz, and the ancient folk music of Europe and the Americas to create a unique experience that has been called “a remarkable display of versatility, styles, and hip arrangements” by New York Philharmonic saxophonist Albert Regni.
The set at Birdland offered selections from the European masters such as Bach, Brahms, Schubert, Ravel and others, which were skillfully blended with classic Jazz masters such as the Brazilian Antonio Carlos Jobim
. Piecuch's renditions also included an intro from Bach’s “Air on G String” with a seamlessly flowing transition to Jobim’s “One Note Samba.”
The hour-long program featured many familiar classical selections,including the theme from Romeo and Juliet," with Martin displaying his woodwind prowess on his eight instruments which included a bass flute and sopronino saxaphone, an original composition penned by Regan entitled “Without You” and a wonderful drum solo by Artie as he accompanied Ron Murray on an original composition. The main program ended with a swinging version of Duke Ellington
’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing” followed by a soul-stirring rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Maestro Martin Piecuch is classical conductor and well-established in Russia where he has worked with some of the most accomplished symphony orchestras there and throughout Europe and the USA. He explains the creation of Jazzical Fusion as “something I have felt was needed to bridge the gap.” And he does that masterfully as the musicians blend the various genres of jazz, classical, samba, et al with ease and take their listeners from the surreal theme of classical concertos to the full swing of jazz classics.
Piecuch is currently the Conductor and Music Director of the USA ballet and the PALA Opera Association. He was named Permanent Guest Conductor of the Moscow Philharmonic in December 2003 and has also conducted the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Opera, and many more.Jazzical Fusion
is the current CD release by Piecuch.