Uri Gurvich: The Storyteller (2009)
The leader traffics in strong melodies and compelling rhythms, regardless of their motific foundation. And certainly the improvisatory methodology on display by Gurvich, pianist Leo Genovese, bassist Peter Slavov and especially drummer Francisco Mela owe a greater debt to post-bop than pizmonim. And when the album features a second saxophone (Chris Cheek's tenor) and Genovese switches to Fender Rhodes for a pair of tunes, the aesthetic becomes highly reminiscent of early fusion experiments.
The problem with crossing over is the risk of alienating constituent groups. Let's hope neither jazz fans nor aficionados of "traditional" Jewish music write off Uri Gurvich's work as not pure enough. There is much for both camps to enjoy.
Track Listing: Midbar Suite; Ha'Bonim; Ani Ma'amin; Prophecy; Nigun; Joseph The Storyteller; Oasis; Masabacha.
Personnel: Uri Gurvich: alto sax; Chris Cheek: tenor sax; Leo Genovese: piano, Fender Rhodes; Francisco Mela: drums; Peter Slavov: bass.
Record Label: Tzadik
Style: Fringes of Jazz