The blessings of the sabbath were clearly upon Paul Shapiro when he wrote the music for and recorded this album. On Midnight Minyan
, his first record as a leader, he dwelt on Saturday mornings and the Jewish tradition. This time he turns back the clock to Friday evenings and the glow of twilight that the sabbath brings. He has the same band of musicians in tow; they make this a listening experience that will long linger in memory.
Shapiro writes with traditional Jewish motifs and then expands them into startling essays, the music leaving its mark as it goes past different signposts. Those can be the beauty of orchestrated ensemble playing, an exhilarating sense of swing, or a ride out into the wide open where content is moulded by free form.
The traditional "Kiddush is burnished on the liturgical melodies on which it is based. The horns interweave to form a rich, resplendent tapestry, with Tony Lewis adding vibrant splashes of colour on the drums. It is all heartwarming and beautiful. "Lecha Dodi Twilight was a poem written in the 16th Century, veiled by time in several melodies, but the jump melody here was written by Shapiro. His saxophone is edgy and filled with the rhythm of soul, and on his return, a nifty dose of bop. Steven Bernstein cuts to the core of the melody on the trumpet, touching on klezmer, and then Brian Mitchell loosens up some bright boogie.
Fire and brimstone visit with "Children of Abraham, which careens forth, propelled by drums and bass, with the tenor in majestic voice commanding the path. Shapiro pushes the edges, visiting peaks and valleys, and form begins to slide out of shape when pianist Brian Mitchell opens a vent for a freewheeling fusillade. But one must complete the circle, and the horns draw that final elliptical line.
Personnel: Paul Shapiro: tenor saxophone, vocals; Steven Bernstein: trumpet, slide trumpet, vocals; Peter
Apfelbaum: tenor saxophone, vocals; Brian Mitchell: piano; Booker King: acoustic bass; Tony