First Things First
A staple in the Posi-Tone rhythm section, bassist Boris Kozlov makes his anticipated label debut as a leader with First Things First. Having proven his versatility in bands led by Michael Brecker, Bobby Watson, Lew Tabackin and Bobby Watson (not to mention holding down the bass chair of the Mingus Big Band on their Grammy-winning album Live at Jazz Standard), he arrives at his latest album with a kaleidoscope of styles and a novel perspective. In addition to his own compositions, the album features contributions from bandmates Donny McCaslin (saxophone), Art Hirahara (piano) and Behn Gillece (vibraphone), as well as the Mingus gem “Eclipse.” “Flow,” our selection, is a Kozlov original that conjures the lapping waters of some faraway shore, McCaslin’s flute rolling effortlessly through Royston’s percussion and Gillece’s rippling chord work. Through it all, Kozlov’s electric bass is a comforting presence, unfurling arpeggios that ground the harmony without disturbing the song’s unflappable calm.