Israeli-born, tenor saxophonist Ofer Assaf, who is now New York-based, looks every bit the modern jazz man on the cover of Tangible Reality. He's got the shades, the beret-style hat worn backwards, andtruth in advertisinghe's also got the modern jazz man goods.
A big percentage of young mainstream jazz artists try to take the "Miles Davis second great quintet" tangent to make themselves sound cutting edge. Assaf seems more of a mind to craft his own voice, in terms of ensemble sound and his own individual approach to the saxophone.
The leader's "Kingfisher 51" opens the set on an edgy groove, built on Bruce Cox's frenetic drumming. The flame is turned up high, and Assaf sears the air with an incendiary solo leading into trumpeter Jim Rotundi's solo. Rotundi keeps the heat on with his turn, before pianist Theo Hill maintains the high energy atmosphere when the horns back off.
It's mostly a high octane affair, with six of the eight tunes from the leader's pen. The title cut is full of surprises, with Rotundi and Assaf in a contest to see who can walk the higher wire on their solos, with the saxophone growling into a Dewey Redman direction.
Assaf also shows a great respect for the tradition, with a clean, beautiful take on the classic "The Nearness of You." The saxophonist closes with a nod to Coleman Hawkins on the legendary "Body and Soul," taking the classic in the direction of the edge without quite going there, putting his own distinctive stamp on the tune.
The way to break from the pack is by developing one's own voice. Ofer Assaf surges ahead on Tangible Reality.
Track Listing: Kingfisher 51; Tangilble Reality; The Nearness of You; The Archer;
Blues for MB; Little Goldmund; Tame the Wild Beast; Body and Soul.
Personnel: Ofer Assaf: tenor saxophone; Jim Rotundi: trumpet (1, 2, 4); Theo Hill: piano; Klaus Mueller: piano (3, 7); Don Pate: bass (3-5, 7, 8); Essiet
Essiet: bass (1, 2, 6); Bruce Cox: drums.
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.