I had never heard of Alexander Rosenblatt, I admit. The new Solo Musica CD, "Tokarev plays Rosenblatt" is easy to listen to and very interesting. The young Russian pianist, Nikolai Tokarev, countryman of the composer, is clearly gifted and quite adept in his approach to music that is a bit of a hybrid. Rosenblatt has written many works, large and small. His approach to composition is a bit symbiotic. He admits an affinity for jazz and American pop. (As his "Beatles" Symphony would suggest) The two pieces on this disc that most clearly illustrate Rosenblatt's liking for jazz are the simultaneously spiky and ethnically flavored, "Concertino on Two Russian Themes" for piano, four hands as well as the immensely entertaining "Waltzing with Hartmann". The latter relies on borrowed melodies from Modeste Mussorgsky but is basically a work for jazz combo (piano, bass and drums) and chamber orchestra. The "Paganini's Variations" is also a reworking of the famous Paganini melody heard in his violin 24th Caprice. In fact, that melody - thanks in large part to Rachmaninov and his "Variations on a Theme of Paganini" for piano and orchestra - is so well known that Rosenblatt's creation falls dangerously close to kitsch; were it not for some very surprising and welcome riffs and counter melodies handled deftly by Mr. Tokarev. For me, the two works on the album that left the strongest impression are the "Gipsy Melody" for violin and orchestra and Rosenblatt's "Sonata fro Cello and Piano". Both pieces are clearly influenced by the composer's Russian Jewish heritage and the huge body of works, both classical and indigenous that he heard and played throughout his life. They are rhapsodic, pretty and engaging and, it seems, provide ample to do for the performers. Alexander Rosenblatt's music is, perhaps, not for everyone. His voice is not so much "original" as it is a very heart felt and skillful reflection of his culture and his world. It is unabashedly derivative and clearly sentimental but easy to enjoy. Some pieces work better than others - especially if measure by the rubric of other living contemporary composers. I do suggest you hear this though. All the works are engaging and have appeal and the performances are very fine! My one issue with the disc is the title. "Tokarev (does) play(s) Rosenblatt" but there are other fine groups and solo performances that are well worth hearing; and people might think this is a solo piano disc.