Alto saxophonist Danny Zamir is the first John Zorn disciple that I can recall (except for the crazy Naked City cover band Prelapse). The young Israeli moved to New York a few years back to, I suspect, emerge himself into the Downtown scene. His debut recording takes Zorn’s Masada as a starting point, but is soon infected by his new musical surroundings. If quoting Zorn is playing Jewish music, then this argument as it applies to Zamir chases its tail. Zamir references his Middle Eastern roots; but is it Ethnic music or World music? Bygones. By “Poem 1” he has infused some street funk, I think he even quotes the Average White Band! But hey, that’s jazz. Much like his hero, “Poem 7” has the familiar feel of an Ennio Morricone soundtrack. Besides the music, the band infuses snippets of street life, speeches in foreign tongue and by John F. Kennedy, and prayer into the mix. Got you interested? Sure, but none of this should distract you from the fine saxophone playing. Zamir sounds like John Zorn mixed with James Carter and David Murray. Where Zorn squeals he growls. There is a clean/clarity to his playing, perhaps from his Mid-Eastern inflection. Zorn sits in on three tracks, accenting the trio’s approach. A fine debut.
Track List:The Theme & Poem 16; Poem 17; Poem 12B; Poem 25; Hassar Hamemuneh; Poem 1; Poem 7; Poem 22; Poem 29; Poem 5; The Theme & Poem 15.