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Rotem Sivan: Enchanted Sun

Dan McClenaghan By

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Guitarist Rotem Sivan, who made the move from his native Israel to New York City in 2008, chose the trio format for his debut, Enchanted Sun. Working with just bass and drums accompanying—whether the "lead" is a piano, a horn or a guitar---is one of the most intimate ways to make music; since pianist Bill Evans' groundbreaking trio of the late fifties and early sixties, it's also one of the most potentially interactive. And, with drummer Rajiv Jayaweera and bassist Sam Anning, interactive is the way the Rotem Sivan Trio rolls.

Sivan's supple touch is on display from the second the CD begins to spin. His original "Here With You" shimmers into existence on feather light notes, joined by the nuanced accompaniment of bass and drums. In the beginning the momentum drifts, seemingly outside of time, but after Anning's melodic bass solo the group gathers energy, riding Jayaweera's cymbal/drum sizzle, with the leader turning on an understated and contained burn.

Seven of the sets nine tunes are Sivan originals, joined by a couple of standards: the light and jaunty touch of Richard Rodgers' "Isn't It Romantic?," a sort of carefree soft shoe of a rendition; and a masterful deconstruction/reconstruction of George Gershwin's classic "How Long Has This Been Going On?" Sivan seems, in the beginning, to be repeating "How long, how long, how long," in a forlorn lament. Momentum shifts, the melody going subliminal at times but then reasserting itself, with Sivan caressing beautiful, crystalline notes from his guitar.

"Rodent's Blues," another Sivan original, speeds along on a high octane tank of gas, with Sivan slinging out single notes with machine gun rapidity, while "Scene #5, influenced by Erik Satie, drifts like a twilight time dreamscape.

Sivan and his trio close the disc with a sort of mini-suite to the sun. The title track has an exotic, introspective beauty, while "Sun- Song" closes out the nine-tune set on an optimistic note, with its understated ebullience.

Enchanted Sun showcases Sivan and a trio possessed of energy, intensity, creativity and remarkable chemistry on this excellent debut.

Track Listing: Here With You; There Without; Rodent's Blues; Isn't It Romantic?; Scene #5; How Long Has This Been Going On?; Keep Breathing; Enchanted Sun; Sun-Song.

Personnel: Rotem Sivan: guitar; San Anning: bass; Rajiv Jayweera: drums.

Title: Enchanted Sun | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Steeplechase Lookout


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