CD Review, “Say Hello To Russia”  by Owen Cordle

“… West (Sermakashev), who inspired the movie Moscow On The Hudson, seems less refined, an uninhibited sort whose lines jostle each other and whose tone often becomes a claustrophobic whine. In this, he resembles Von Freeman with t 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 saxman and company, three-and-a-half leaning toward four stars.”

CD Review, “Say Hello To Russia” by Scott Yanow

“Vlad West, a fine Russian tenor saxophonist whose defection to the West apparently inspired the movie Moscow On The Hudson, is a strong modern mainstream stylist.  West’s improvising approach at times recalls Dexter Gordon, although he has a tone all his own that could take a little getting used to.                                         

     Accompanied by pianist Harold Danko, bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Adam Nussbaum, 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.” 

CD Review, “Say Hello To Russia” by Chuck Berg

    “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 peripatetic 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.  And though he blinks several times while negotiating the harmonic hairpin turns of Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” there’s an emotional directness that connects.  Though not yet in Perelman’s or Rodidi’s class, one senses an unbounded commitment to both his new home and to jazz.

       West, by the way, has a sense of humor.  After thanking his parents and wife, he writes: “To Bill Clinton, who inspired me to do this CD”.


CD Review, “Green Light” by Scott Yanow

          “Vlad West is a pianist with a very original style, both in his playing and his writing. His constantly inventive piano playing and his colorful originals certainly hold one’s interest…  Throughout his career, Vlad West has consistently shown that he is a musician well worth paying close attention to.  GREEN LIGHT is his latest accomplishment.”

CD Review, “In My Corner” by Fred Starr, former president of Oberlin College, Jazz Studies

     “On any instrument and under any name Vlad West has a distinctive and extremely attractive voice. This CD puts his instrumental diversity on exhibit and also reveals intriguing developments in his musical style. But thank goodness, there is still that wonderful lyric and rhythmic voice suffusing it all. Hats off to the new Vlad West and to yet newer Vlad Wests yet to come!”

Article by Armen Manukyan

           “Vladimir Sermakashev is real live Legend Of Soviet Jazz… “   (LINK TO READ IN RUSSIAN)

Article in Jazz Square by Леонид Аускерн


Jam Session with Gerry Mulligan, “KM Quartet”

Moscow, 1967

(Listen to Body and Soul, LINK TO READ IN RUSSIAN)

Interview on RTN (Russian Television Network)