SAY HELLO TO RUSSIA is strait ahead bebop album. DOWN BEAT gave it three-and-a-half leaning toward four stars.
"You must say HELLO to VLAD. He has his own voice and story to tell" - Dan Morgenstern, Director, Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University.
"In his combination of grittiness and lyricism, blues feeling and sheer drive, he has few equals, in Europe certainly and even in America" - Mr. Starr, President of Oberlin College, Jazz Study.
JAZZ TIMES MAGAZINE : "West comes up with creative and frequently hard-driving solos on six of his originals and three standards, making one wonder why he is not better known" -Scott Yanow.
LAWRENCE JOURNAL: Vlad West, a shortened version of Vladimir Sermakashev, is a rollicking modernist, a tenor saxophonist with a barrel- chested sound and a puckish sense of time. Once one of the USSR’s most noted players, the parapatetic West takes risks. That much is clear from the music. But when one realizes that his defection from Russia was the inspiration for Robin Williams’ movie “Moscow on the Hudson,” one’s got to say, “hat’s off!”
West knows what he’s doing. His rhythm section is drawn from New York’s best. He’s also an engaging composer, as his “Far Away” and “Black Snow” indicate.
- Chuck Berg, Jazz Critic, Professor Ph.D., University of Iowa Film/Television History,
Theory and Criticism; American Pop Culture, Music and Media
DOWN BEAT MAGAZINE: " West (nee Sermakashev), who inspired the movie Moscow On The Hudson, seemsless refined, an uninhibited sort whose lines jostle each other and whose tone often becomes a claustrophobic whine. In this, he resembles Von Freeman with a touch of Harold Land. But this malleability of tone and line are part of the attraction, as is his determined drive. As a composer, he demonstrates an affinity for the classic Coltrane quartet on “Far Away” and “Black Snow”. There’s Trane in his solo on “Giant Steps”, naturally, but more Freeman and Land in “All The Things You Are” and “Stella,” the only other non-West tunes here. The rhythm section… Danko displays an admirable range, exemplified by a certain dreaminess on “Alone” and full rhythmic blows on “Gee”. Anderson and Nussbaum are a Haden and DeJohnette pair: strong anchor, splashy wave.
For the saxmen and company, three-and-a-half leaning toward four stars. – Owen Cordle.