Friday, July 01, 2011

Aram Bajakian’s Kef (Tzadik, 2011)

By listening to this album, you can tell why rock ‘n’ roll legend Lou Reed would ask guitarist Aram Bajakian to play guitar on his summer tour. Bajakian can rip feedback laden Velvet Underground/Robert Quine style riffs at will, but can also play gentler music in acoustic and electric format. This album (which will be released on July 26) features Bajakian in the company of Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz on acoustic bass, electric bass, oud and gimbri and Tom Swafford on violin. There is a great deal of variety on this album for a trio project, ranging from the haunting ballads “48 Days” and “Pear Tree” where subtlety is the key and the music draws on several influences from world music to classical as well as jazz. The fusion side of the group comes out nicely on “Sepastia” with its blasting electric guitar and sawing violin recalling the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and “Raki” which features killing snarling electric guitar shredding around riffing violin in a frenetic dance. “Karasalama” brings everything together, starting with spare and atmospheric guitar and violin and then building to a faster pace before dynamically stepping down for the conclusion. The music on this album draws its inspiration from a wide variety of music from all over the world, and the three musicians form a tight and cohesive unit, that plays consistently enjoyable music. Aram Bajakianos Kef -

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