Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pitom - Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes (Tzadik, 2011)

Pitom is a very exciting young band from Israel that remains true to the “fusion” aesthetic without succumbing to any of the pretentions sometimes associated with that word. Taking progressive jazz and melding it with elements of rock, punk, prog and traditional Jewish melodies makes for a unique and exciting sound. The band consists of Yoshie Fruchter on guitar, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz on bass, Kevin Zubek on drums and Jeremy Brown on violin and viola. Brown’s stringed instruments give the often scalding and frenetic music a hint of the thrilling free jazz Albert Ayler made when he incorporated violin for his Village Concerts, and also recalls the high-speed intricacy of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, especially on the title track “Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes.” On this performance, they begin with a slow sludgy deep groove that develops into as ominous grind. As the music picks up pace, Brown becomes more prominent, swooping and swaying throughout the music and laying the groundwork for an intense improvisation of shredding electric guitar around a repetitive violin riff. They use the slow building heavy metal/Black Sabbath motif again on “Resentful Repentance” and it works quite well, giving the band a firm foundation to build their improvisations from. Fruchter builds to a climax of apocalyptic proportions with a thrilling guitar solo. This was an enjoyable album from a band that is marking out a unique sound at the intersection of various subgenres of rock ‘n’ roll and jazz. Open eared fans of either genre with find much to enjoy here. Blasphemy & Other Serious Crimes -

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