Yuri Goloubev (born 27 July 1972 in Moscow, Russia) is a jazz musician, composer and double bass player. He switched to jazz in 2004 after over a dozen years as a very successful bass player in classical orchestras, and has achieved notable success in jazz also as a performer with “perfect pitch, flawless execution and an improviser’s imagination”. He is also praised for his arco playing. Ian Patterson, writing in All About Jazz wrote “There are few better exponents of arco, and his tone has the warm resonance of a cello.”
Yuri Goloubev won the First Prize in the All-Soviet-Union Students’ Competition in 1990, then started work as the Principal Bass with the Moscow-based “Ensemble XXI” Chamber Orchestra (1990–1991). From 1991 til 1992 he also worked as a section bass with the Bolshoi Theatre. He studied classical composition at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and 1995 he received his master’s degree in double bass as a soloist and chamber music performer. From 1992 til 2004 he was the Principal Bass with the Moscow Soloists directed by Yuri Bashmet. It was during this time that he performed with many artists such as Mario Brunello, Sarah Chang, James Galway, Lynn Harrell, Barbara Hendricks, Kim Kashkashian, Gidon Kremer, Shlomo Mintz, Thomas Quasthoff, Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Spivakov, Uto Ughi and Maxim Vengerov. He has performed at venues such as Sydney Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, Musikverein, Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, Gewandhaus, Concertgebouw, Salle Pleyel, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Palais des Beaux Arts, Accademia di Santa Cecilia and Megaro. He has also appeared at major festivals such as the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival (Finland), Hong Kong Festival of the Arts, Bath Music Festival (UK), Perth Festival (Australia), Casals Festival (Puerto Rico), Prestige de la Musique (France) and Omaggio a Roma (Italy).
In December 2004 Goloubev moved to Milan, dedicated himself solely to jazz and quickly gained the attention of many Italian musicians. He worked with such artists as Francesco Bearzatti, Fabrizio Bosso, Gianni Cazzola, Giovanni Falzone, Claudio Fasoli, Paolo Fresu, Rosario Giuliani, Guido Manusardi, Massimo Manzi, Enrico Pieranunzi and Glauco Venier. He also worked with Bob James, Pablo Held, Asaf Sirkis, Franco Ambrosetti, Kenny Werner, Klaus Gesing, John Law, Benjamin Henocq, Stan Sulzmann, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Julian Argüelles, Tim Garland, Rick Margitza, Manhu Roche, Gwilym Simcock, Mike Serin, Jason Rebello, Daniele Di Bonaventura, Chihiro Yamanaka and Bill Smith. In 2007–2009 he taught at the jazz faculty of Centro Professione Musica (CPM) in Milan and in 2010 became the Jazz Double Bass Professor at The Conservatorio di Musica F.A. Bonporti, Trento. Currently, he teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, Wales.
Goloubev is also a composer and has released several albums as leader.
He has performed on over 100 recordings and two of his recent trio recordings have been selected as Critics Choice Top 10 Jazz Albums in Japan: Roberto Olzer Trio – Steppin’ Out, #1 Best Jazz Album, 2013, Michele di Toro Trio – Play, #8 Best Jazz Album, 2014. Various albums with his participation have been featured in the inflight entertainment programs of such airlines as Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways, Swiss, Emirates. He has received widespread acclaim for his partnership with the pianist Gwilym Simcock in two recordings released on ACT Music in 2014. Their album “Duo Art: Reverie at Schloss Elmau” received a number of 4 star reviews. The critic Dave Gelly wrote in The Observer “In Russian bassist Yuri Goloubev, Gwilym Simcock has obviously found a collaborator with the same expansive imagination and equal virtuosity. The interplay between the two is like musical telepathy.” In JazzTimes H. Allen Williams wrote, “Goloubev’s playing is a sound of beauty with impeccable technique and heartfelt feel.” (by wikipedia)
The old saying, “if you want a job done ask a busy person,” certainly applies to Russian bassist Yuri Goloubev, one of the hardest-working musicians in jazz. When not touring with his own small ensembles, he’s criss-crossing Europe in the trios of pianists Gwilym Simcock, Johnny Laws and Carlo Morena, or in the quartets of saxophonists Claudio Fasoli and Mattia Cigalini. And in the two years since Metafore Semplici (Universal, 2009)—his last outing as leader—he has also graced around twenty other recordings. Prodigious as well as prolific, Goloubev’s hypnotising playing is freer here than on the more compositionally focused Metafore Semplici, though the same group adherences to melody and a softly voiced lyricism are cornerstones of the music on this adventurous, yet wholly accessible offering.
Perennial Goloubev collaborator, drummer Asaf Sirkis, once again lends his guile, dobbing lingering colors on the collective canvas. Sirkis’ contribution is—for the most part—tremendously subtle, gliding furtively in and out of the mix. Vastly experienced soprano saxophonist Julian Arguelles brings strong melodic lines and flowing lyricism to almost half the cuts, and additional intuitive complicity, having previously recorded with Goloubev and Sirkis on pianist Carlo Magni’s Notturni (Music Center, 2011). A striking difference between this recording and Metafore Semplici is Goloubev’s more dominant presence as a soloist here. The liner notes state that he was searching for greater freedom by “treating the double bass rather as a wind instrument,” and Goloubev certainly blows a storm; the set is peppered with his wonderfully creative interventions, with and without bow.
The final piece in the jigsaw is pianist Claudio Filippini, who leaves a lasting impression on compositions that exude individual expression. At 29, and with four CDs as leader to his name, the pianist from Pescara is no debutant. Though essentially a modernist, his naturally unfolding rhapsodic lines and constant melodic invention are evocative, though in no way imitative, of pianists Bill Evans and Bud Powell. Filippini’s talent is notable, and with a little luck he will reach a much wider audience. Goloubev has been an admirer of Filippini’s playing for some time, and must be delighted with the pianist’s scintillating contribution to this recording.
A simple two-note piano motif ushers in Sirkis’ composition “Sailing,” and the sound soon swells with the arrival of Goloubev on bowed bass. There are few better exponents of arco, and his tone has the warm resonance of a cello. Formerly a classical bassist with the Moscow Soloists for 12 years, Goloubev’s jazz recordings have used elements of contemporary classical composing—in particular harmonic—though on Titanic for a Bike the inevitable classical influence is most felt in his phrasing, a synthesis of the classical and jazz idioms. Downing his bow, the four-minute bass solo which follows is a killer. Melody drives Goloubev, and his playing has a lilting, folkloric quality. Filippini takes over the lead—with Sirkis slipping quietly in at the same time—and weaves a delightful course that is simplicity and grace personified. Bowed bass and the opening two-note piano motif return to close out this utterly seductive composition.
The loose compositional frameworks mean that no fixed patterns are readily discernible on tracks like “Philosophy” and “Well Seasoned Waltz,” other than the shared characteristic of a series of interconnected solos which gently immerse the listener. The playing is free, though the individual roles are carefully defined. Sirkis and Filippini steer the group rhythmically, with Sirkis displaying a deft percussive accent that at times could lull a baby to sleep, notably on “How We Were.” Argüelles hoists the melodic mast, and his solos have a spiraling beauty, whilst Goloubev and Filippini largely construct the tunes’ narrative flow.
Elegance and melody, however, permeate the music, even at its most lively. On “Bagatelle 2,” Argüelles stretches out with soulful exuberance, buoyed by Sirkis’ most animated playing of the set. On “Elmau Revisited”—a notable exercise in counterpoint—the individual voices swirl around each other like currents. Empathy in the playing is ever-present too; Argüelles and Filippini’s voices entwine in a hypnotic rising-falling exchange on “Bill Gates Among Us,” another great tune. The piano-trio number “Love Stories” illustrates Goloubev’s ability to comp beautifully in totally free mode. On the same track, Filippini’s uncluttered solo reveals a sublime touch and an inherently emotive voice. The solo bass number, “Titanic on the Bike,” is a pleasing oddity, germinating with an urgent, King Crimson-esque bowed riff, over which Goloubev charts the famous theme from the James Cameron movie.
In the end, Goloubev—on arco—and Filippini combine in a beguiling duo-interpretation of Jimmy Hughes/Dorothy Fields’ song, “Don’t Blame Me.” It’s perhaps appropriate that these two musicians should take the final bow, as their playing throughout this record is simply wonderful. Titanic for a Bike is Goloubev’s most satisfying recording to date, and goes a long way towards elevating him to the ranks of jazz’s premier bass improvisers. It also states the case most persuasively, for Goloubev as a modern composer and leader of note. Highly recommended. (by Ian Patterson)
Julian Argüelles (saxophone)
Claudio Filippini (piano)
Yuri Goloubev (bass)
Assaf Sirkis (drums)
01. Sailing (Sirkis) 8.26
02. Philosophy (Goloubev) 8.13
03. Well Seasoned Waltz (Goloubev) 6.55
04. How We Were (Re: The Way We Were) (Goloubev) 7.44
05. Titanic For A Bike (Goloubev) 3.24
06. Love Stories (Re: Love Story) (Goloubev) 6.06
07. Elmau Revisited (Goloubev) 5.54
08. Bill Gates Amongst Us (Goloubev) 6.39
09. Bagatelle #2 (Goloubev) 7.20
10. Don’t Blame Me (Fields/McHugh) 2.51