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Ehud Ettun: Deep In The Mountains

Chris Mosey By

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The mountains in question are those of South Korea, revered as sacred by the inhabitants of that country. They also made an indelible impression on Israeli bassist Ehud Ettun in the 40 days he spent there. The eleven songs on this album—a mix of originals and standards—are coloured by his meditations on the visit.

Westerners climb mountains to conquer them, South Koreans to renew bonds with nature and ancestral beliefs. On one of the summits of the Jirisan range in the south of their country, at least once in their lifetime they hope to experience a mystical moment of oneness with nature that will bring them prosperity and good fortune to last the rest of their lives. The belief is born out of a mixture of Buddhism, shamanism and animism.

Some of the spirit of this obviously rubbed off on Ettun. His album is highly enjoyable and creative, with a wonderful fresh feeling to it. The three opening numbers—Sammy Fain's "Secret Love," from Calamity Jane, Ray Noble's "Cherokee," and "Old Devil Moon," written by Burton Lane and Yip Harburg for the long forgotten 1947 musical Finian's Rainbow—are given a new, almost composite identity by Ettun.

They are followed by Ettun's own signature tune for the album, "Deep In The Mountains," which switches from lively to meditative and back again. "Alfonsina Y El Mar (Alfonsina And The Sea)," a broodingly tragic musical tale by Argentinian pianist Ariel Ramirez, is followed somewhat incongruously by Jimmy Van Heusen's "It Could Happen To You." It is a relief to escape the false optimism of Broadway and return to the Jirisan mountains for "Arirang," a lilting Korean folk song.

Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time," which became a jazz standard at the hands of Bill Evans, is given a fine, sensitive re-run.

The last three numbers are all originals and include "Matcha Green," a choppy, busy tribute to the Japanese powdered tea used in the tea ceremony.

Track Listing: Secret Love; Cherokee; Old Devil Moon; Deep In The Mountains; Alfonsina Y El Mar; It Could Happen To You; Arirang; Some Other Time; Matcha Green; Keep Calm; Stork.

Personnel: Ehud Ettun: bass; Daniel Schwarzwald: piano; Nathan Blankett: drums.

Title: Deep In The Mountains | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Internal Compass Records

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