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NOT ON LABEL (Barcode: 885767262577) ~ ISRAEL ~ Jazz

Recorded: 2011 Released: 2012

Almost four years after his sensational debut album, Israeli pianist / composer Ari ErevFind albums by this artist returns with his second album as a leader. As the title suggests, its all about changes, and therefore this outing is very different from the previous one in every respect. Whereas the debut was a classic piano trio album, with subtle, delicate and often introvert musical love-making, this one is joyous and energetic, recorded mostly in a quintet setting. Of the eleven compositions included herein, seven are Aris originals, two are by the great Israeli composer Alexander ArgovFind albums by this artist and the remaining two are standards. The quintet, which recorded most of the music, consists of prominent American (NY) tenor and soprano saxophonist Joel FrahmFind albums by this artist, Ari on piano, bass guitarist Arie VolinezFind albums by this artist, drummer Eitan ItzcovichFind albums by this artist and percussionist Gilad DobreckyFind albums by this artist. Bassist Tal RonenFind albums by this artist plays double bass on three tracks and reedman Ofer ShapiroFind albums by this artist plays alto saxophone on one track and clarinet on another. The overall level of performance is absolutely spotless from start to finish, presenting sophisticated and intelligent mainstream Jazz, which is as good as anything recorded in America or Europe in the same category. Volinez and Itzcovich are a formidable rhythm section, with decades of playing together behind them; Shapiro delivers a wonderfully heartfelt clarinet work; Dobrecky ornaments the music with his rhythmic inventions, adding a slightly exotic tinge; Frahm plays beautifully and skillfully; but of course its Aris piano work that shines brightly and is exceptionally lovely throughout. His touch and intimate feel for the melody is absolutely gorgeous and as much as I try to forget it, it keeps reminding me of Bill EvansFind albums by this artist playing. My personal favorite track on this album is the wonderful piano / sax duet, which in its intimacy and nakedness presents the beauty of the music at its fullest. But of course the entire album is a feast from start to finish. I can only thank Ari and his cohorts for bestowing upon us all such wonderful music. It proves that the Israeli Jazz scene, regardless of the fact if it happens here or in the middle of NY, reached a maturity and professionalism I dreamt about since decades. Hats off Ari and may the (Jazz) Force be with you!
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