Ehud Asherie: Organic (2010)
Organic is Israeli-born Ehud Asherie's fourth album as leader on the Posi- Tone label. It's also his second release of 2010, following the excellent Modern Life, although it was actually recorded two years before that album, back in 2007. It's another quartet recording of predominantly straight-ahead jazz and shows, once again, the young musician's affinity with and talent for this musical genre.
As with Modern Life, this album is a pleasing combination of Asherie's original tunes and classics from writers such as Sonny Rollins and Leonard Bernstein. In contrast to the earlier album, Organic showcases Asherie's talents on the Hammond B-3 organ rather than the piano and, perhaps because of this change in instrument, Asherie has put together a more consistently upbeat set of tunes. The result is a positive, optimistic recording that really swings.
Asherie's approach to Bernstein's "Tonight" is decidedly high-energythis is the sound of a bunch of guys getting ready for a night on the town, not a lonely and lovelorn New Yorker. The tune gives all the members of the quartet the chance to open up with Asherie, guitarist Peter Bernstein, saxophonist Dmitry Baevsky and drummer Phil Stewart all delivering short but effective solos. The band also produces a punchy version of Rollins' "The Stopper," with Baevsky's saxophone playing taking a central role and Stewart adding an inventive drum solo, and a gently grooving take on Johnny Green and Gus Kahn's "Coquette," on which Asherie adds a smoothly-played organ solo.
Asherie's own compositions include "Valse Pra Jelena," probably the album's loveliest tune thanks, in particular, to Bernstein's rich single-note playing; the slinky hard bop of "Apostrophe"; and the funky, insistent organ/guitar/drums outing, "It's Possible." Asherie's compositions have a nostalgic quality to them, in keeping with his obvious love for some of the classic styles of jazz, which gives them an appealing familiarity.
Organic may not have the emotional range or dynamics of Modern Life but its positive and upbeat take on the music is accessible and immediate this is an easy album to enjoy, played by a likable and talented quartet.
Track Listing: Tonight; Valse Pra Jelena; The Stopper; Coquette; It's Possible; Favela; Apostrophe; Blues For Fats.
Personnel: Ehud Asherie: organ; Peter Bernstein: guitar; Dmitry Baevsky: tenor saxophone; Phil Stewart: drums.
Record Label: Posi-Tone Records