Label: Self Produced
Arioso; Count It All Joy; Hindsight; Lonely Moments; Amaylah's Song; Child's Play; Three Words; Not for Naught/Farewell to Dogma; Morning Song; Picket Fences; Never Forgotten.
Yoron Israel has been involved with countless projects during the past 30 years with such prominent jazz artists as Kenny Burrell, Jay Hoggard, Abbey Lincoln, Art Farmer, Roy Hargrove, Ahmad Jamal, Jim Hall, Tom Harrell, Sonny Rollins, Steve Coleman, Tony Bennett, Vanessa Rubin, Horace Silver, Clark Terry, James Williams, Russell Malone, Freddy Cole, Joe Lovano, Larry Coryell, George Cables, David "Fathead" Newman, and Laszlo Gardony to name a few. Always a supportive drummer who gives each musical situation the swing, drive, and sensitivity that it needs, he has also led and co-led eight albums prior to this recording, “New Dreams”, a project that is very special to him. “The message of New Dreams, which was recorded before the pandemic, is about having a sense of new hope with new aspirations and goals. It is about having the fortitude and energy to go out and accomplish one’s dreams with a sense of joy, and embracing every challenge faced with positivity.” At the time of this recording, Yoron Israel had been working with two different trios featuring either Kevin Harris or Michael Cochrane on piano. So, he decided to record this trio-based project with both pianists, bassist Will Slater, and guest artists Bill... Pierce, Nedelka Prescod, David Eure, and Jaline Israel. New Dreams consists of six of the leader's originals and a song apiece from five musicians he greatly admires. "I enjoyed a wonderful musical history and friendship with the late great James Williams, touring and recording with his group ‘The Intensive Care Unit’ and other projects. One of my favorite James Williams compositions was and still is ‘Arioso’ which I didn't get to play with him. However, with Bill Pierce, who also shares a long association with James joining us for this track, a fresh version of the charming tune was achieved.” “Count It All Joy,” which Yoron had recorded previously with its composer Lance Bryant, features vocalist Nedelka Prescod and has a message that resonates with him and the theme of this recording. “It is taken from the biblical scripture, James 1:2 – 3 that reminds us that in life we all are all met with a myriad of challenges, however when countered with optimism, joy, endurance, maturation, and character are ultimately achieved.” In addition to another fine tenor solo from Pierce, Yoron is particularly happy that his daughter Jaline Israel makes her recording debut on this piece as the background vocalist. Cedar Walton’s “Hindsight” has an assertive theme, a bass pattern that pops up regularly, fluent and inventive piano from Kevin Harris, and wonderful interplay by the trio. Mary Lou Williams’ “Lonely Moments,” which dates from the mid-1940s, still sounds modern today. Performed at a faster tempo than the original version gives the trio a potent vehicle for swinging; notice how one can hear the melody during the drum breaks. “Amaylah’s Song,” the first of Yoron’s originals, is named after his middle daughter and features the lovely wordless singing of Nedelka Prescod on a haunting theme. One could imagine Duke Ellington recording this song. "Child's Play," written by Yoron, depicts the sound lodged in his memory of his three children joyfully playing together, reminding him of the wonderment and hope that young children typically possess; “a quality that would certainly serve us well as adults at times.” Violinist David Eure and the trio do indeed sound like children interacting with each other during this often-whimsical performance. “I think we have all come out of the pandemic with a renewed sense of what we value in life. As such, we should be that much more inspired to say the three words, I love you (or perhaps another mantra of endearment) more often to people we care about." Throughout their outstanding performance of "Three Words," the beauty and complexities of love are portrayed musically by the composer, Harris, and Slater. Mulgrew Miller’s “Farewell to Dogma," renamed "Not for Naught," has been given lyrics by Cyril Chapman that fit in very well with Yoron Israel’s vision of New Dreams. Ms. Prescod displays her impressive range, and Pierce takes an adventurous soprano solo. “The atmospheric ‘Morning Song’ is about the hope that each morning brings, giving us an opportunity to reinvent ourselves daily, empowering us to even restore and repair circumstances that may have gone wrong in the past.” Featured are Yoron’s playing of the kalimba, a prominent role for Slater (whose contributions throughout this date are invaluable), and colorful statements by Eure and Harris. The soothing jazz waltz “Picket Fences” includes some of pianist Michael Cochrane's best playing on the date, another fine spot for Slater, and a tasteful string arrangement by Matthew Nicholl. The memorable outing concludes with "Never Forgotten," which includes joyful violin and piano solos plus trades by Yoron with the bassist. It pays tribute to the people who have positively impacted our lives and serves as a rollicking closer to Yoron's thought-provoking recording, New Dreams. Yoron Israel currently serves as Chair and Professor of Percussion at Berklee College of Music, a tenure he has held for more than twenty years, in addition to uplifting, Yoron Israel, who has taught at Berklee College of Music for many years in addition to uplifting the music of a who’s who of jazz, is looking forward to completing three books that are brewing within him. He is also looking to return to his roots by documenting some of his original sacred music and playing the vibraphone on future recordings. Yoron’s creative, subtle drumming, compositions, and arrangements are always a strong asset and New Dreams, his latest work, is arguably his most rewarding album to date. Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian, and author of 11 books including Jazz On Record 1917.
Album uploaded by Michael Ricci