Since moving to New York City in 1998, Israeli-born trombonist Reut Regev has made a series of remarkable appearances with a number of high-profile ensembles and artists. Unconstrained by stylistic preconceptions, her early work with such Yiddish-themed artists as Frank London and Metropolitan Klezmer sits comfortably alongside recent gigs with renown avant gardists Butch Morris and Anthony Braxton. Breathtakingly expansive and unabashedly modern, This is R Time is her debut as a leader.
Exploring an exotic no-man's land somewhere between avant jazz, rock, funk, reggae, and dub, the album's nine original tunes unfold with a driving intensity. Regev's writing is reminiscent of Ray Anderson's early nineties funk experiments with the Slickaphonics, but far more gritty. Versatile guitarist David Phelps, veteran bassist Brad Jones, and Regev's husband, drummer Igal Foni, make up her regular quartet. Their seasoned interplay is laser-tight, leaving ample room for freewheeling discourse. The elastic rhythm section plays it close to the vest, knowing just when to lock down the beat and when to cut it loose.
A wildly diverse stylist blessed with prodigious technique, Regev's approach is joyously unfettered. From the mercurial euphony of "Hula Hula" and blistering staccato cadences of "Nutcase Scenario" to the earthy tailgating of "Some of the Best Fish Are Alive" and mellifluous refrains of "Balibalaila," Regev embraces every aspect of the trombone's storied history. An intrepid explorer, she fearlessly augments her horn with EFX, periodically running it through wah-wah pedals and reverb units, invoking dub as readily as the electro-acoustic experiments of fellow trombonist Robin Eubanks.
An eclectic performer and perfect foil for Regev, Phelp's Hendrixian lyricism comes to the fore on the ebullient "Nutcase Scenario," while offering serene introspection on the sultry exotica of "Balibalaila." His chameleonic tendencies suit Regev's restless aesthetic perfectly; spiky electric guitar salvos shadow peals from her amplified trombone throughout the session, sporadically culminating in kaleidoscopic maelstroms of psychedelic intensitylike the one found at the apex of the searing closer "True Story."
This is R Time is a stunning debut record from an upcoming artist. Regev combines the expressivity of the avant-garde and the technical precision of bop with the farsightedness of a musician in step with her own time. As one of the jazz idiom's oldest, most versatile instruments, the trombone provides both a connection to the past and a link to the future, a place Regev is prepared to take us.
[Note: This is R Time is currently only available from Ropeadope as a digital download. For those interested in obtaining an actual CD, Reut will be pressing a limited run to distribute herself. See her website for details.]
Track Listing: Swill; Hula Hula; Nutcase Scenario; Balibalaila; Some of the Best Fish Are Alive; Faradise; Elephant Steps; Clean Dirt; True Story.
Personnel: Reut Regev: trombone (1, 2, 4-6, 8, 9), flugabone(3, 7), congas (5, 6); David Phelps: guitars; Brad Jones: upright bass (2, 4-6, 8), electric bass (1, 3, 7, 9); Igal Foni: drums and percussion; Eddie Bobe: congas (4), bongos (6).