Brooklyn Prayer is extremely heart-felt, and in its low-key kind of way engrossing and attractive. Some might find, however, that Nadel wears his emotions too much on his sleeve, especially with such lyrics as these:
Hold me tight, my eyes will let you in.
I'll wash away your pain with my smile.
Let me free you from your chains here in the night.
It feels so right.
That said, there are many things to like in this release. Gilad (whom I have seen in Freddie Bryant's trio) is a fantastic world percussionist, playing many instruments with precision and intensity. Along with Plaxico, he makes the various rhythms here authentic. Nadel, being Israeli, fits right in when he creates this musical world tour representing the many cultures of Brooklyn, New York.
Nadel mostly plays a nylon classical guitar, occasionally switching to acoustic steel string, further keeping things small and intimate. He is joined by vocalist Michal Cohen, who is most effective when purely vocalizing, producing an sound of pure note, almost devoid of body, as on "Warm Shades of Beauty and "Dark Glasses.
Instrumentally, Nadel uses his guitar to make emotional points; he is not at all a technical wizard, and in fact comes off a bit strained when trying to wail blues lines on the steel-string guitar.
Despite these minor criticisms, Brooklyn Prayer does hold up well as a personal musical statement.
Track Listing: Warm Shades of Beauty (7:29), Childlike (6:35), Summer Days (8:46), Desert Surfer (5:25), Dark Glasses (8:27), Slow Samba at 1am (6:08), Sing Me a Lullaby (3:24), Brooklyn Prayer Suite (3 parts) 7:52)
Personnel: Dan Nadel - nylon and steel acoustic guitar, Lonnie Plaxico - bass, Gilad - drums and percussion, Michal Cohen - vocals