Shai Maestro: Human

Mike Jurkovic By

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Shai Maestro: Human
That pianist Shai Maestro dreams music is an understatement: With an intense romanticist's heart, he also plays in said dream state. And it is re-affirming to know that, after the hellish year the world has been dragged kicking through, that we can all dream too.

Human dreams broadly with sunrises, sunsets and all the vulnerability in-between. Amid his steadfast and quick-witted rhythm section— drummer and fellow Israeli Ofri Nehemya and Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder—Maestro adds the equally impassioned American voice of trumpeter Philip Dizack, making each track a window thrown open to the light of day, its instances of grace, doubt, redemption and the mystery of it all.

"Time" emerges like sunrise illuminating unknown footpaths. At first, "Mystery and Illusions" darts in, around and between the four seekers, only to waltz languidly to a rising climax. The shortest of ten originals plus "In a Sentimental Mood," (as if to ask what would human be without a little Duke Ellington?) "Human" reveals and revels in Maestro's open, sinewy classicism textured by a hushed, gracious, brotherly dialogue between trumpeter and pianist.

Hewn from a deep vein, "The Thief's Dream" expands upon the roaming dramas of Maestro's 2018 ECM debut, The Dream Thief, with wandering control. Imagined at an effortless pace with a wizened, all-too-human melody, "Hank and Charlie" (dedicated to pianist Hank Jones and bassist Charlie Haden) may very well be Maestro's ticket into the great jazz composers songbook. "Prayer" is just that, and "They Went To War" finds Dizack speaking for us all before the others join in one proud, beautiful, yet pleading voice. The telepathic empathy and camaraderie embedded in Human offer us all a glimpse of better things. Better angels. Better days.

Track Listing

Time; Mystery And Illusions; Human; GG; The Thief’s Dream; Hank And Charlie; Compassion; Prayer; They Went To War; In A Sentimental Mood; Ima (For Talma Maestro).


Shai Maestro: piano; Jorge Roeder: bass, acoustic; Ofri Nehemya: drums; Philip Dizack: trumpet.

Album information

Title: Human | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: ECM Records

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