324

Yaron Herman: Follow The White Rabbit

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Yaron Herman: Follow The White Rabbit
Follow The White Rabbit is Israeli pianist Yaron Herman's fifth album—his first on the ACT label and his first with the rhythm section of bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Tommy Crane. Continuing the format of his past trio albums A Time For Everything (Laborie Records, 2007) and Muse (Laborie Records, 2009), Herman mixes original tunes and covers, including one or two unusual and not altogether successful choices.

Radiohead's "No Surprises" keeps close to the sound of the original: Herman's piano replicates Thom Yorke's vocal line but, without Yorke's emotional intensity, the whole becomes rather saccharine. No surprises, indeed. Kurt Cobain's "Heart Shaped Box" is given a similar treatment, but Crane's drumming is in stark and welcome contrast to Dave Grohl's on the Nirvana original and Herman's piano gives the tune a smoother and more lyrical feel, to replace Cobain's anger with sadness. Frank Churchill's "Baby Mine," from Dumbo (1941), gets a respectfully delicate treatment, but even without its lyrics the song is still cloyingly sentimental.

Herman's own compositions have an impressive maturity and range. "Cadenza" is a solo piano piece, beginning firmly in a classical style but opening out and becoming freer in its latter stages. "Airlines" starts as a mid-tempo tune with a rolling, fluid melody before it builds in intensity as first Tordini and then Herman deliver impressive solos. "Aladins (sic) Psychedelic Lamp" opens with dramatic piano chords but soon shifts gear to a softer and more reflective vibe. Crane and Tordini give "Clusterphobic" a gentle funkiness over which Herman creates an expansive and rich melody.

"Follow the White Rabbit," a trio composition, is a beautiful track featuring superb ensemble playing. In fact, the album's real strength is the quality of the trio's ensemble playing—Tordini and Crane are as crucial to the success of the music as Herman, even if Crane occasionally pushes a bit too hard, on "Trylon" or "The Mountain in G Minor" for example.

Herman has routinely been compared to Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau. This new trio line-up brings him closer to European contemporaries such as the Kit Downes or Tord Gustavsen trios—inventive yet melodic groups whose distinctive sound comes as much from the bass and drums as it does from the piano. His biography claims that he's "an exceptional phenomenon, unique in the history of piano playing"—that's pushing things a bit too far, but he is certainly an impressive player and writer and Follow The White Rabbit is the product of a fine new Trio.

Track Listing

Follow the White Rabbit; Saturn Returns; Trylon; Heart Shaped Box; Ein Gedi; The Mountain in G Minor; Cadenza; Airlines; Aladin's Psychedelic Lamp; Baby Mine; White Rabbit Robot; Clusterphobic; Wonderland; No Surprises.

Personnel

Yaron Herman: piano; Chris Tordini: double bass; Tommy Crane: drums.

Album information

Title: Follow The White Rabbit | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: ACT Music

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read 4K
4K
Modasaurus
Read Signals
Signals
Trio Linguae
Read History Gets Ahead of the Story
History Gets Ahead of the Story
Jeff Cosgrove / John Medeski / Jeff Lederer
Read Prism
Prism
Conference Call
Read Conspiracy
Conspiracy
Terje Rypdal
Read Freya
Freya
Tineke Postma
Read Unearth
Unearth
New Hermitage

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.