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Anat Fort: And If

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That pianist Anat Fort is an intensely lyrical musician is apparent throughout And If; her poetic lyricism acts, in fact, as sort of a unifying theme for the entire work. A hauntingly beautiful and sublime musical opus, the disc opens with her modal composition; “Paul Motian," a tribute to her previous band-mate, where her minimalist improvisation is reminiscent of Bill Evans. The trio goes through ten of Fort's own pieces, ranging from the sonata-like “En If" and the blues-tinged “Minnesota," to the avant-garde sounding “Something 'Bout Camels," which starts with the urgent groan of Gary Wang's arco ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anat Fort: And If

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Working with legendary drummer Paul Motian on her first ECM release, A Long Story (2007), must have been a formative experience for pianist Anat Fort. On And If, her second release for the German label, she opens and closes the set with two readings of “Paul Motian." These are inward, time-standing-still tunes, showcasing Fort's spare and spacious approach to her instrument, with the abstractly nuanced accompaniment of her regular trio-mates, bassist Gary Wang and drummer Roland Schneider.By and large less gregarious than A Long Story, And If can bubble with forward-leaning energy, as it does on the ebullient ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anat Fort: And If

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Pianist Anat Fort's ECM debut, A Long Story (2007) may have featured her “dream team"--and was all the better for it--but there's something to be said for the comfort and chemistry of longtime collaborators. Bassist Gary Wang and drummer Roland Schneider may not have the cachet of Ed Schuller or Paul Motian, but having worked with the Israeli expat since 2004, they clearly get what she's about, making And If a fine follow-up to A Long Story that, in many ways, is even more indicative of Fort's intrinsic strengths and undeniable charm.Motian's spirit continues to loom large. As ...

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INTERVIEWS

Anat Fort: Swimming in a Sea of Motian

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While her discography as a leader consisted, until this year, of only one self-released album (Peel, 1999), New York-based, Israeli-born composer/pianist Anat Fort has been working steadily for years. Few contemporary jazz pianists have as graceful and developed a playing style as Fort--her use of rests, her love of space, and her classically-imbued phrasing are, once you've encountered her, immediately recognizable. She's just as good a composer, however, and it's the songs on her 2007 ECM debut A Long Story that make the greatest initial impact on the listener. Many critics have remarked upon a Middle Eastern influence in her ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anat Fort: A Long Story

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My first exposure to the ECM milieu--the singular look, the sharp sound, the hypnotic music--was with Keith Jarrett's 1975 opus The Köln Concert. After longtime immersion in my parents' West Coast-intensive record collection, this amazing work of crystalline beauty hit me like French New Wave hits an American movie buff. Some guy named Manfred Eicher was telling me, in effect, “We don't have to do this music the same old way! Free your ears and your mind will follow!

I bring this up because pianist Anat Fort's ECM debut, A Long Story, brought me right back to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anat Fort: A Long Story

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Notes twirl with thrilling beauty in Anat Fort's hands. Infused of the free jazz and 20th Century classical music aesthetics (especially the Second Viennese school), A Long Story, her first effort for ECM, successfully captures a talent of rare profundity and breadth. Her innate sense of textures, as well as her free-flowing lines and dramatic use of the sustain pedal, makes her a poetess of the ivories.

The peaceful solemnity of “Just Now, a recurrent theme of disarmingly charming simplicity, instantly grabs the listener and act as a gateway into the stark yet magnetizing aural landscape that follows ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anat Fort: A Long Story

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From the first notes of “Just Now," an attentive listener will recognize that A Long Story is going to be something special. The seemingly simple, Middle-Eastern tinged melody is treated with odd phrase lengths, keeping the listener decidedly off-balance, despite the direct harmonic progressions. Pianist Anat Fort's improvisations on the tune float around the barely felt pulse creating an atmosphere of calm, serene beauty, which nevertheless is quite taut beneath the surface. The rest of the album seems to simply unfold, gradually exposing this remarkable musician's compositional and improvisational skills. The pieces each tell a story and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anat Fort: A Long Story

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Solemnity and reverence are two characteristics that come to mind on hearing the opening tune on Tel Aviv-born pianist Anat Fort's ECM Records debut, A Long Story. The simple, straightforward melody of “Just Now, Var. I" sounds biblically old, like music tapped from humanity's collective marrow; and it--and the entire set--fits well into the atmosphere of a good percentage of the material released on the prestigious German label, sounds that are spare, spacious, understated and mesmerizingly beautiful. All of the music was composed by Fort, with the exception of “Chapter-Two, which was co-written by the pianist and clarinetist Perry Robinson.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anat Fort: A Long Story

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A Long Story is a most satisfying chronicle that carefully explores pianist Anat Fort's delicate compositions. Fort has been provoking praise with a worldly style that blends Mid-Eastern hues into pieces that prominently feature her classical/jazz training. Like her playing, her compositions can straddle diverse worlds and impress with a sensitivity that is comfortable with tales that veer into free verse or melodies that may brush up against popular idioms. Admittedly influenced by the works of pianists Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Paul Bley, Fort has brought together, for her ECM debut, a hand- picked group of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anat Fort: A Long Story

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There are those who dream of the perfect group, but it's rare for an artist to get it so right the first time. A Long Story isn't exactly Anat Fort's first record (which was her self-released 1999 album Peel), but it's the Israeli expat's first to reach an international audience. Most people will find it their first exposure to this talented pianist, and it's notable for a number of reasons.

It marks the return to ECM of two intrepid players who have, in their absence, intersected on many occasions. Clarinettist Perry Robinson was part of Carla Bley's ambitious Escalator Over ...

MEGAPHONE

Anat Fort: Make It Happen

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By Anat Fort Confusing place, New York City. I may be planning on an early night (you know, going to bed around 12-1 am) when I get an email from a burning group that's playing somewhere. Soon enough, my phone rings and it's a friend, going to see this “really amazing band, you got to come check them out while their shows are still $10". And, as if that is not enough, I will just be browsing the paper while realizing five or six more “real happening shows" are going on. Or more. Urgh!! It is so ...



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