Flow is the third recording as leader from prominent Israeli pianist Ari Erev and follows the themes of "time" and "change" that titled his previous albums. On this endeavor, Erev designs a project that reflects his affinity for the percussive Latin sound by including a touch of Afro-Cuban rhythms as one of the elements in a generally post-bop environment of rich harmonic flavor. The Tel-Aviv-based pianist delivers a primarily original selection with the exception of a few cover tunes in an attention-grabbing superb twelve-track recording that's quite compelling.
Recorded in Tel-Aviv, Erev naturally assembles a group of some of the finest Israeli jazz musicians for this effort and employs a core trio format with Eli Magen on double bass and Ron Almog on the drums throughout most of the album. Beginning with the vibrant opener "Jumping in the Water," the percussive Latin-styled "Playful Moments" and "Treasures in Havana" among others, the band is expanded to include percussionist Gilad Dobrecky and soprano saxophonist Yuval Cohen of The Three Cohens (brother, trumpeter Avishai and sister and saxophonist, Anat).
The gently-flowing classically-bent waltz title track, is the second piece of the recording but was the very first original penned for the album while "July, Again," a truly beautiful piece of music, occupies the same light-textured classical space as the title piece though with a more somber note as it is a dedication to the late friend and bassist Udi Kazmirski. Bassist Magen takes a pronounced role on the delicate "Inner Story" as the soft balladic "What the Heart Sees" is Erev's play on the statement from the liner notes "What is essential is invisible to the eye" from the fable The Little Prince suggesting that what's essential may be clearer to the ear." What is clear though, is just how all the musicians meld here on one beautiful tune.
The Latin flavor returns on the lyrical "Domingo" from Brazilian pianist and composer Debora Gurgel offering a slice of light Latin rhythms with Erev at the center of the music, followed by a more traditional Latin jazz sounding track in the very appropriately titled "Latin Currents." The sparkling session of music closes on the Fred Hersch cover piece "Endless Stars," though other notable piece here includes the powerful "Continuance" and the Yohanan Zarai tune "Gan Ha-Shikmim."
Like the strong currents of the sea or the rushing waters of a river that leave an unforgettable visual impression, pianist Ari Erev's creative and innovative Flow leaves a similar impression albeit a musical one. The album documents a powerful fluid musical statement containing excellent new material, a cast of first-call players from the international scene and a remarkable performance from a gifted artist whose expressive playing style and clever compositions, elevate him as one of the finest pianist on the international jazz scene today.
Jumping in the Water; Flow; Playful Moments; July, Again; Treasures in Havana; Inner Story; What the Heart Sees; Continuance; Domingo; Latin Currents; Gan Ha-Shikmim; Endless Stars.
Ari Erev: piano; Eli Magen: double bass; Ron Almog: drums; Yuval Cohen: soprano saxophone (1, 3, 5, 7, 10); Gilad Dobrecky: percussion (1, 3, 5, 10).
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