Guitarist Ori Dakari blends modern jazz with Israeli, East European, Yemenite and North-African music making for an interesting and thoughtful sound. On this, debut LP, he is accompanied by Uri Gurvich on alto sax, Takashi Sugawa on bass, Mika Nishimura on piano and Eric Doob on drums. The lengthy and complex "Beresheet" opens the album with some nice saxophone led improvisation and a strong Middle Eastern feel. "Sun" is another highlight, with a darker sounding melody, and a slinky guitar solo building to an intense conclusion. Strong too is "Besora," with a full band collective improvisation led by Gurvich who sounds brawny and deep. I like his sound a lot, apparently he has a new disc out on Tzadik as well and I'll have to keep an eye out for that. Dakari takes the lead on guitar for the stinging "So Far Yet So Close." The group succeeds on ballads as well, "Tzabar" throttles things back a little bit with milder saxophone and some probing guitar from the leader, and "Remembrance" is a deeply meditative performance with gentle lullaby like guitar and slow piano. This was a solid debut album from a promising musician and band. If Dakari defers to his colleagues a little to much, it's out of respect for their abilities, not because of a lack of things to say. He's a democratic bandleader who makes the most of the people collaborating with him and this bodes well for future albums.
Entrances - amazon.com
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Sharon Gal, Steve Noble and Alex Ward
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