437

The New Albert Beger Quartet: Big Mother

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
The cover of Israeli saxophonist Albert Beger's Big Mother captures your attention immediately. Yinon Tubi's photos of an anonymous, depressing rubbish dump frame Beger's love cry on behalf of all mothers, a conceptual six-part suite that calls us to action before it's too late.

The new work challenges Beger, who usually opts for shorter compositions that emphasize his abilities as an improviser and his close interplay with his partners. Most noteworthy, these have included bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake, with whom he recorded Evolving Silence, Vol.1 and Evolving Silence, Vol. 2 (Earsay, 2005 and 2006). This time Beger has chosen to focus on the collective qualities of his new quartet.

The line-up feature Beger's trusty bassist Gabriel Meir, and two new members, pianist Aviran Ben Naim and drummer Yoav Zohar. Naim brings a deeper dimension to the quartet with his Ellingotinian harmonic sophistication, and with well-articulated solos that contrast and comment on Beger's fiery Aylerian blowing. The muscular drumming of Zohar supplies a steady beat, and enables Meir to use extended techniques on the bass and to introduce more sounds and colors to the palette. Beger concentrates on tenor saxophone.

The suite begins with Naim introducing the dark and dramatic "The One". Beger's playing is more reserved than usual, but still intense and expressive, and the whole quartet move as a collective unit in which each player fills his role in a complex and dramatic puzzle. The following "Yellow" offers a looser framework for improvisation. Beger begins and closes with short, optimistic solos, followed by a Naim, who reflects on Beger's statements while Meir and Zohar explore different rhythmic patterns.

"Tales Of Beelzebub", a variation on G.I. Gurdjieff's famous book, Beelzebub's Tales To His Grandson, is the most exciting piece here, and a highlight in Beger's recent performances. Its dramatic shifts and split-second stops, the well-built tension and the clear affinity between all members the quartet, lead to spirited solos from Beger and Naim.

Beger duets with Naim on the slow and meditative "Point Of No Return", before the two introduce "Big mother", a dark, march-like piece that revolves around Meir's inventive arco playing and Zohar's tough drumming. Beger, in his most exciting and free playing here, digs deeper into the repetitive "tribal" groove before returning to the emotional opening theme.

The concluding "The One For Hope" features Naim, who repeats the dramatic opening theme of the suite. This time around the quartet sound is more focused and perhaps more determined to suggest a belief in the power of music to inspire us to heal the ailing Big Mother. Highly recommended.


Track Listing: The One; Yellow; Tales Of Beelzebub; Point Of No Return; Big Mother; The One For Hope.

Personnel: Albert Beger: tenor saxophone; Aviran Ben Naim: piano; Gabriel Meir: bass; Yoav Zohar: drums.

Title: Big Mother | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Earsay


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Left" CD/LP/Track Review Left
by John Sharpe
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "O Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review O Horizonte
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Lacy Pool_2" CD/LP/Track Review Lacy Pool_2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 14, 2017
Read "The Chicago Plan" CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Plan
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "Cluster Swerve" CD/LP/Track Review Cluster Swerve
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Jersey" CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.