The title says it all. Life needs its balance, and drummer Yotam Rosenbaum ensures that his musical program of chamber jazz reaches out in several directions to create a lovely landscape. With a classical music feeling floating all around the room, the sounds of piano, violin and vibraphone predominate here. Meanwhile, acoustic bass and drums provide a firm foundation for the quintet's improvisation. The musicians trade fours and stretch out confidently through this program of Rosenbaum's original compositions.
Born and raised in Israel, the leader attended music school in Tel Aviv before moving to Boston. After graduation from the Berklee School of Music, he settled in Los Angeles, where he concentrates on his creative composing career. Rosenbaum isn't the kind of drummer who steals the spotlight. He prefers to lead from the back of the room, shading with his wire brushes, keeping time with a staccato presence, or simply swirling gracefully in the background. It's his compositions that make the session so exciting. There are impressions from all over the world, each one a vivid reflection.
On Balance, the leader finds a powerful violinist in Mads Tolling and expressive musical partners in pianist Vadim Neselovskyi and vibraphonist Dave Samuels. Bassist Mike Oien takes an extended solo on "In Between that sings out as lyrically as his partners do throughout the program.
Most of the pieces do not concern themselves with swing. "Sunday, however, provides an impression of swing, and "Bicycle Tango drives with a powerful dance motion that can replace swing any day of the week. Rosenbaum's drum set introduction to his up-tempo "Mink finds him toying with tones from instruments of indefinite pitch. The drummer's conceptually creative intro leads the quintet into a burning romp that builds decisively with hearts afire.
Recommended for its originality and genuine preference for lyrical beauty, Balance collects a wide spectrum of musical impressions into one creative package.
Personnel: Yotam Rosenbaum: drums; Vadim Neselovskyi: piano; Dave Samuels: vibraphone; Mads Tolling: violin; Mike Oien: bass.