Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz - Abraxas: Book of Angels 19 (Tzadik, 2012)

The 19th edition of John Zorn’s Book of Angels is a wild ride, with Zorn giving his compositions up for interpretation to an exciting jazz/rock band consisting of Aram Bajakian and Eyal Maoz on guitars, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz on gimbri and Keven Grohowski on drums. “Domos” opens the album with probing guitar that turns into a blasting full band improvisation with full throttle guitars that are wild and unrelenting. Strong guitars offer a fast foundation on “Tse’an” with the gimbri filling the bass and support role and powerful drums developing a Mahavishnu Orchestra like fusion as the scorching guitars trade lead and backing positions. “Nachmiel” focuses on drums rolling around the melodic guitars which are still speedy but nicely intertwined, making for a sharp and fast performance. Things kick into overdrive with “Muriel” with the jackhammer sound of the full band on takeoff. Wild, driving and impossibly fast at times, the band remains on the same wavelength, developing intricately woven instrumental textures, before downshifting into a spacier section of longer guitar tones. Fast and slow dynamism power “Aupiel” with the band burning out and then pulling back before bulldozing forward once again. “Nahurel” ramps thing back up again with guitars pushing the music rapidly forward and drums keeping the engine stoked. This was a roller coaster ride of improvised jazz and rock, taking elements of Zorn’s Middle Eastern tinged compositions and running them through a powerful machine that amplifies and transforms the music into something potent and affecting. Abraxas: Book of Angels 19 - amazon.com

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