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These New York City “downtown” denizens generally rouse our interest via their distinguishable brand of Klezmer and modern jazz. With its fifth release, “Hasidic New Wave” brings in the Senegalese-based “Yakar Rhythms” percussion group to help fabricate a world-beat sound that signifies a new dimension for this always-investigative outfit. On “Waaw-Waaw,” trumpeter, Frank London and saxophonist, Greg Wall engage in cool, sleek and very jazzy unison choruses that segue into a series of Middle Eastern modalities atop the “Yakar Rhythms’” bustling Afro-centric beats. Consequently, bassist, Fima Ephron and drummer, Aaron Alexander firm up the pulse while enjoying a seemingly festive rapport with their counterparts who utilize indigenous West African percussion instruments. Guest artist, organist Jamie Saft helps shed new light, on “Yemin Hashem,” which is a piece that indicates a 19th century Hasidic nign (spiritual melody). Here, the musicians meld African pop style motifs in concert with Greg Wall’s blazing tenor sax solo, as the band perpetuates a festive outlook throughout.
“Frydginator” might spur notions of a boisterous Jewish wedding celebration, where Ephron and Alexander merge solid backbeats with the “Yakar Rhythms”’ pulsating treatments, and guitarist David Fiuczynski’s crunching single note leads. Strong soloing abounds as the group consummates the activities with the peppery, groove based, “Spirit of Jew-Jew.” Otherwise, we can only speculate as to what lies ahead for this talented lot while every new venture offers an abundance of pleasantly articulated surprises. Recommended.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.