Saturday, August 8, 2020
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Artist: Alon Nechushtan
Title: Dark Forces
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources (@)
Rated: *****
The first time I've tasted the talent of this proteiform NY-based Israeli pianist and composer - and in this capacity he could boast of some compositions written for important "academic" ensembles such as Bob Brookmeyer's New England Conservatory Jazz Composers Big Band, Fred Harris' MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble and the BMI Orchestra - on a release marked by Zorn's Tzadik Records as a founder of a klemer jazz quintet called Talat. His talent as a "musical scenographer" was not so evident, but it was clearer that he gave a remarkable proof of rethinking the syncretism, which already belongs to that particular kind of music, born from a fusion of different musical traditions (mainly Polish, Russian, Romani and Moldovan), known by Ashkenazic Jews during their wanderings over Eastern Europe, which, so it seems, had an important role for the development of some American jazz branches, when that tradition was transplanted in the USA by some Yiddish-speaking immigrants. Mine should not be just considered a scholarly remark, as you will easily notice that some rhythmic and melodic structures of that tradition - particularly in the "scores" for Mark Dresser's double bass, Nate Wooley's trumpet and Okkyung Lee's cello - sound like one of the most audible filler mixed with other elements in this black pudding sliced in ten parts, being the other elements some tricks taken from experimental electronics, improvisational, ambient, ritual and concrete music and even tribalism - the moments where this element sounds clearer such as in the fourth or sixth track are my favorite ones of the whole recording -. Someone could argue that such an ensemble could outshine individual skills, but I'm pretty sure that each of 11 musicians with their rich sonic stores, including two electric guitars, one double bass, one trombone, one alto saxophone, a baritone one, one cello, one tuba, one bass clarinet, one bass flute, one trumpet, involved in this obscure work will be satisfied of the highly visionary opalescence their choral performance aimed to highline a property of music, more than a concept, managed to reach thanks to Alon Nechushtan direction as the listeners will easily acknowledge.


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