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Sam Yahel: In The Blink of An Eye

C. Michael Bailey By

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The Second Time. In The Blink of An Eye is organist Sam Yahel’s second release for Naxos Jazz, following up his critically recognized release Searchin’. A performer more in the mold of Larry Young rather than Jimmy Smith, Yahel further defines his light and unique style on this new recording.

The B-3 Tradition. When thinking of the Hammond B-3 organ, most listeners will turn to the organ-tenor or organ-guitar trios of the ‘50s and ‘60s, whose greatest proponent was (is) Jimmy Smith. The archetype of this music was the blues and Bebop standards, mostly hot, upbeat numbers. Sam Yahel represents a different application of the B-3 on his two Naxos releases. This music is much more ballad laden, with easy more melodic playing. In The Blink of An Eye pregnant with this music.

Yahel plays with a certain complexity and in a more experimental manner within the confines of mainstream jazz. The disc opener, Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower” and the disc closer, Van Heusen and Burke’s “Like Someone in Love” reflect a rippling rounded edges approach in Yahel’s playing that typifies the rest of the disc.

Yahel is joined once again by friend and guitarist Peter Bernstein and new drummer Brian Blade, finishing out his trio format. Bernstein is melodically accomplished throughout the disc, supported by Blade’s easy swinging, understated drumming. Kahlil Kwame Bell provides percussion support on the first and last pieces,adding a subtle texture to this music.

Sam Yahel was noted as “Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition” in the 1999 Down Beat polls. His Naxos discs provide ample reason for this. In The Blink of An Eye is a understated yet profound follow-up to 1997’s Searchin’.


Title: In The Blink Of An Eye | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: FMP


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