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Pitom: Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes (2011)

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Pitom: Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes Track review of "In the Merit of..."

How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Recorded for John Zorn
John Zorn
John Zorn
b.1953
sax, alto
's Tzadik Records, and sustaining the spirit of radical Jewish music, Pitom's second album is a psychodramatic crash-and-burn event. Spanning Sonic Youth-like reckless abandon, hardcore grunge, jazz improvisation and the blasphemous morphing of traditional Jewish music stylizations with jazz-rock, the unit abides by a take-no-prisoners approach. Offering an antithesis to the norm, with a titanium edge, complex unison choruses and punishing grooves, Pitom's "punkaassjewjazz" credo erves as a fitting depiction of its moving parts.

From the opening bell on "In the Merit of...," guitarist Yoshie Fruchter strikes the knockout blow, with brazen crunch chords atop a punishing rock pulse and violinist Jeremy Brown's streaming lines. The musicians straddle the free zone in spots, but unleash a torrid Jewish folk melody within the realm of progressive jazz-rock.

Brown's beefy and energized solo gushes with recoiling staccato passages and spiraling single-note leads. Fruchter adds to the intensity with an intergalactic jaunt, via pounding support from the rhythm section. It's outlandish escapism amid the pressure-packed ride as the band threads tradition with a notoriously psychotic edge. All in good fun, however.

Personnel: Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz: bass; Yoshie Fruchter: guitar; Kevin Zubek: drums; Jeremy Brown: violin, viola.

Record Label: Tzadik


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