Jon Madof's Rashanim: Masada Rock; Irving Fields: Bagels and Bongos
Jon Madof's Rashanim
Madof is a powerhouse in a scene that has been hungry for new guitarists. With the careers of Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot (who is featured on a few tracks here) having blossomed, Madof is a valuable new gun-for-hire in town and he proves himself here to be both a delicate and a hard-rocking player. If at times his blister is a little over the top (as on "Chorek and "Zemanim ), the mad swerves between head-solo-head and head-headbang-head are not so far removed from Zorn's cut-and-paste projects of the '80s. And his take on "Bahir deserves a spot on the Best of Masada: The First Quarter Century disc presumably slated for release in 2019.
Bagels and Bongos
The Masada project has been brilliant in its simplicity; Zorn has likened it to a book of heads akin to Monk's. What has made it work has been a close-knit group of virtuosos willing to endlessly reinterpret Zorn's modal themes. One of the most unusual elements has been Cyro Baptista's Latin percussion, so it comes as some surprise to hear the first CD issue of pianist Irving Fields' 1959 Bagels and Bongos. While certainly not ahead of its time, Fields' blending of Jewish themes, jazz piano, and Latin percussion was certainly bold. The native New Yorker was 44 when he made the record (and still plays three nights a week in Manhattan). His playing is romantic, his rhythm section light and overall it seems tailor-made for young couples too cool for the Catskills. As Tevye famously intoned, "Tradition!
Tracks: Bahir; Makom; Zidon; Shadrakh; Chorek; Anakim; Zemanim; Ahavah; Arad; Terumah.
Personnel: Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz: electric bass, oud; Mathias Kunzli: percussion, drums; Jon Madof: guitar; Marc Ribot: guitar.
Bagels and Bongos
Tracks: Where Shall I Go; Pretty as a Moonbeam; I Love You Much Too Much; Havannah Negila; Rasins and Almonds; Mazeltov Merengue; David's Dance (Reb Duvidel); Joseph! Joseph!; Little Shawl (Dus Talesel); Belz; Miami Merengue (Rabbi Eile Melech); My Yiddishe Momme; Cha Cha No. 29; Bei Mir Bist du Schon.
Personnel: Irving Fields: piano.