Jazz in all shapes, sizes and textures

MARSH DONDURMA will be performing at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in Tel Aviv (photo credit: CHEN WAGSHALL)
MARSH DONDURMA will be performing at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in Tel Aviv
(photo credit: CHEN WAGSHALL)
Fresh Sound New Talent
Saying a jazz musician has a knack for producing lyrical tunes is a bit along the lines of noting that a playwright can string a sentence or two together. Well, not exactly. Jazz artists produce scores that come in all shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and rhythmic and melodic intent.
It is safe to say that Yaniv Taubenhouse sets great store by the tuneful aspects of his craft. The thirtysomething New York-based Israeli pianist fronts a project he calls Moments in Trio, with Canadian bassist Rick Rosato and American drummer Jerad Lippi happily in tow.
Perpetuation is the second installment of the triad venture, comprising five originals and five standards, with all but one getting the Taubenhouse arrangement treatment. The Israeli clearly has a well-formed musical ethos, especially on a sonorous unhurried rendition of “On The Street Where You Live.” And his pals put in their simpatico pennyworth, too.
Thelonious Monk’s “Introspection” has some of its typically Monkesque jagged edges smoothed out a little, but Taubenhouse’s tripping reading is a nonetheless intriguing offering. “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?” sounds, at times, a little like something from Fiddler on the Roof but is no less alluring.
The energy level rises somewhat on “Paratodos,” as Lippi ups the tension with some tight delicate rolls, and the measured romanticism on Cole Porter’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” gives the listener plenty of time to appreciate every nuance.
It will be interesting to see if Taubenhouse and his pals continue along a similar triangle road and proceed to Volume Three, or strike in a new direction.
‘A Throw of Dice’
Whirlwind Recordings
Pakistani-born, American-bred guitarist Rez Abbasi’s confluence with the Silent Ensemble troupe is an eclectic affair, with the leader and his four sidemen generating rich swaths of multilayered, wide-ranging lines.
Abbasi has paid his dues in all sorts of areas of musical endeavor, taking in jazz, rock and classical Indian music. Part of his tuition in the latter discipline was gained with Alla Rakha, the late stellar tabla player who, along with legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar, helped to introduce Western ears to the hypnotic mysteries of Indian music.
All of the above, and more, thread their way through the 19 tracks on A Throw of Dice. This is a cohesive quintet whose members, collectively, cover a multitude of disciplinary bases. It all makes for a fascinating listening experience.
Interestingly, the recording was prompted by an invitation for Abbasi to compose and perform a score to be played live at a screening of the 1929 eponymous silent movie. There is another twist to the venture, in that the film, by German-born director Franz Osten, was based on an episode from the Indian epic Mahabharata.
Abbasi certainly lets his stylistic hair down, and the album cuts follow a meandering route through compelling and surprising sonic realms. It is an enjoyable and absorbing effort.
‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’
Outside In Music
If you’re going to use a work from an entirely different field of the arts as a springboard for a musical project, and you have a penchant for densely packed sonic ideas, then The Garden of Earthly Delights by Renaissance-era master Hieronymus Bosch ain’t a bad choice.
André Carvalho certainly sounds like he made the most of Bosch’s fascinating richly detailed triptych created over five centuries ago.
The Portuguese bassist and composer put together a widely roaming suite that traverses numerous textural and rhythmic directions which keep you well and truly riveted to the score. There are surprising departures by the dozen.
On “Of Mermaids and Mermen,” for example, Eitan Gofman or Jeremy Powell – we are not told which of the tenor saxmen takes the solo – plays out a delicate, yet robust tête-à-tête with André Matos’s spacey-sounding guitar punctuation. As the saxophone line wends its careening way, the rest of the gang join in, with drummer Rodrigo Recabarren providing impressive, driving underpinning throughout.
Carvalho works through an expansive canvas of emotions and cerebral avenues, with futuristic sound slots and even some heavy rock-leaning passages, complete with distorted guitar. But you get the impression that, carefully structured orchestration notwithstanding, all the members of the sextet have plenty of room for individual expression.