Yoron Israel: Connection: Live at the Blue Note
Special guest Steve Turre performs on trombone and shells. Ed Cherry on guitar, Eric Alexander on saxophone, Brian Carrott on vibes and Sean Conly on bass fill out Israel’s regular band. The set starts with vibes and drums interweaving exotic lines. Bass and guitar join in and develop the intro into a groove that kicks off Freddie Hubbard’s “One Of A Kind.” Turre delivers an eloquent and swinging solo on trombone. Ed Cherry’s guitar invokes a Far Eastern quality and provides a lush launching pad for a potent, tenacious, and probing solo from Eric Alexander. The Washington state native has led several highly regarded sessions for Delmark and Criss Cross.
Throughout this disc the light sounds of the guitar and vibes create strong contrast to Alexander’s throaty and complex improvisations. Brian Carrott shines on vibes. On Ed Cherry’s composition “Mogadishu,” his gentle harmonic statements provide the perfect background for improvisation from Cherry and bassist Sean Conly. As a soloist Carrott provides the momentum to propel sax, drums, and vibes that create a three-way call and response on Monk’s “Bemsha Swing.” Turre’s shell playing combined with the steel drum sound that Carrott urges from his vibraphone creates the Caribbean flavor that underscores the lovely arrangement on Israel’s “Nostrand Avenue.” Israel’s other original, “Amaylah’s Song,” has a distinctly Brazilian flavor. Yoron composed this for his second daughter. Cherry and Carrott enhance the Latin feel. Cherry has recorded with Paquito D’Rivera, played in another sextet with the late Milt Jackson, and is adept at playing along with vibes.
Jimmy Heath’s “Mellowdrama” is provided a soul jazz groove by Israel and bassist Conley. Ed Cherry drives the momentum with a remarkable solo that is smooth and exciting. Alexander’s saxophone pushes the piece to its crescendo, and it ends back in the groove. The set concludes with an energetic reading of Mulgrew Miller’s “The Eleventh Hour.” The group joins on the melody and then embarks on a series of solos, duets, trios, and short drum passages. This is a very satisfying album. It is well recorded and translates the excitement of a great live performance.
TRACK LIST: One Of A Kind; Mogadishu; Bemsha Swing; Nostrand Avenue; Amaylah’s Song; Mellowdrama; The Eleventh Hour.
PERSONNEL: Yoron Israel, drums; Eric Alexander, saxophone; Ed Cherry, guitar; Bryan Carrott, vibraphone; Sean Conly, bass; and special guest Steve Turre, trombone and shells.
Originally published in Jazz Improv Magazine, copyright 2000, E.S. Proteus, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
Record Label: Half Note Records