The debut release of the international, Amsterdam-based quartet, led by an Israeli pianist and composer Sagy Segal, attempts to re-frame the traditional jazz quartet in a global perspective by adding traditional, localized ingredients into its lyrical recipe. Elements such as Sephardic Jewish songs, Brazilian, Argentinean Tango, Celtic, Indian, and even Chinese musical traditions affect the depth of the compositions, creating the idea of a musical travelogue packed in a short and busy cross-countries tour without really experiencing the travel itself.
This feeling is intensified by Segal's arresting and articulate playing on the opener "Odd Dance" which takes pianist Anthony Coleman's re-working of Sephardic melodies a step ahead, and Segal's most beautiful lullaby solo piece for his daughter, "Blues For Lihi." On most other pieces however, Segal becomes more of a sideman. Examples include his tribute to the Brazilian composer Hermeto Pascoal, the Brazilian-tinged "Cristal," or when he shares the leadership roles with flutist Remko de Landmeter, who stresses a very gentle, almost new-age, attitude on "Mediterranean" where the interesting introduction of bassist Vasilis Stefanopoulos resembles a Middle-Eastern oud lost in the soft flute solos, or "Little Tango" which lacks the passionate feeling and drama of a real tango.
It is not that de Landmeter is not a capable musician as his restrained playing on "Indian Blues" proves focusingly mainly on the Indian flute (bansuri), he has enough space to develop his musical ideas. But on most other pieces the concept of encompassing so many rich musical traditions in short songs fails to have the same musical and emotional impact.
The quartet and definitely Segal, has the potential and even the vision, but this recording gives the impression of a light-weight and brief visitor who intentionally avoids deep experiences.
Track Listing: Odd Dance; Hermeto; Musette; Mediterranean; Cristal; Italian Blues;
Celtish; Little Tango; The Old New Land; Waltz For Lihi.
Personnel: Sagy Segal: piano; Remko de Landmeter: flute, alto flute, bass flute,
bansuri; Vasilis Stefanopoulos: double bass; Mark de Jong: percussion,
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
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