125

Augmented Reality: Augmented Reality

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Augmented Reality: Augmented Reality Collaborative trios are a tricky business. While all three members might set out to form an equal musical partnership, that rarely happens. Sometimes the instrumentation dictates the focal point, as with the fascinating group, Fly—drummer Jeff Ballard, bassist Larry Grenadier and tenor saxophonist Mark Turner—which is as democratic as they come, yet the horn draws the most attention by virtue of the general dynamic within a horn-bass-drums trio. This isn't necessarily a good or bad thing, but it bears mentioning because no group of musicians, no matter how well-intentioned, will ever come across as 100% equals. No two snowflakes are the same, and no two—or three or four—musicians are likely to come across the same or share equal space and weight within a group. Sometimes, that makes the music all the more interesting, as with Augmented Reality.

This trio represents a meeting of Israel and Peru on the streets of New York, and the music embraces all of these geographic influences. Pianist Roy Assaf contributes five originals, along with arrangements of Benny Carter's "Only Trust Your Heart," Richie Beirach's "Leaving" and the Latin classic "Alfonsina Y El Mar," and his work often bears the imprint of his Israeli roots. Drummer Ronen Itzik—also a native Israeli—is a bit more covert in his compositional references to his homeland, providing a different perspective on the Israeli-American Diaspora dynamic. The third side of this thrilling musical triangle—bassist Jorge Roeder—isn't represented at all through his writing, but he proves to be the most engaging soloist on the record, stealing plenty of space within the diverse compositions provided by his trio mates.

While the focal point may often shift toward Roeder's bass work, this threesome also clearly has a strong group dynamic and engages in serious, simultaneous interplay, as beautifully displayed on Assaf's "Ohel Israel." They cover swing ("Only Trust Your Heart" and "Dry Tear") and sensitive soul-searching ("Alfonsina Y El Mar") with ease, and thrive on the mournful Middle Eastern-laced music that's their birthright ("Morning Of Sorrow"). Itzik exhibits a flair for the dramatic when the band turns the volume up ("Sepharadic"), but he also colors the quieter numbers with sensitive cymbal sorcery. The band even goes well-beyond their roots with the album-opening "Tabacon," which deals in subtle tropical influences and features some exciting solo work from Assaf.

Whether or not Augmented Reality is a meeting of three true equals, that's beside the point. These three men form a cohesive unit based on mutual respect, shared ideals and conversational comfort within varied musical atmospheres, making Augmented Reality an engaging listen from beginning to end.


Track Listing: Tabacon; Alfonsina Y El Mar; Sphere; Morning Of Sorrow; Sepharadic; Stone And Sun; Only Trust Your Heart; Ohel Israel; Dry Tear; Un-; Leaving; Budva.

Personnel: Roy Assaf: piano, melodica; Ronen Itzik: drums, percussion; Jorge Roeder: bass.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Daywood Drive Records | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Monte Alban" CD/LP/Track Review Monte Alban
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Come Together" CD/LP/Track Review Come Together
by James Nadal
Published: May 27, 2016
Read "EJ: Song Explorations on Acoustic Guitar and Piano" CD/LP/Track Review EJ: Song Explorations on Acoustic Guitar and Piano
by Doug Collette
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Double Septet" CD/LP/Track Review Double Septet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "The Blue Shroud" CD/LP/Track Review The Blue Shroud
by John Sharpe
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Life and Other Transient Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Life and Other Transient Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!