215

Assif Tsahar/Mat Maneri/Jim Black: Jam

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Assif Tsahar/Mat Maneri/Jim Black: Jam
Whether sparse or dense, light or heavy, stuttering or gliding, the nine untitled tracks on Jam feel like a natural progression. Something of a summit for these three out jazz improvisers, the recording unfurls like a series of open conversations might extend to tell a story.

That's appropriate given these players' exquisite control of their instruments and their preference for listening and responding, rather than shooting from the hip. And given that each of the nine untitled tracks tends to be an encapsulated entity, they unfold like chapters down a musical path. There's almost no melody in the usual sense here, but that doesn't hinder the flow at all.

Assif Tsahar's real strength lies in his ability to coax an extremely broad range of timbres from his instruments, in this case the tenor saxophone and bass clarinet. His playing is rarely clean; instead of handling the horn "correctly," he drifts up and down around notes, coloring them with breath and overtones. The depth of his horns on this date is appropriately matched with Mat Maneri's 5-string violin, which stretches down into viola territory and quite often sounds like a cello. All that warmth makes the combination seem more human and better connected. And it's a pleasure to hear quick-witted (and usually quick-handed) drummer Jim Black in this setting, mostly channeling his usual flying sparks into a burning glow.

The first track on Jam sounds like the musicians are sitting down, getting comfortable, and settling into a rhythm. As the recording continues, the three players engage in short, halting interchanges, closely spaced without overcrowding. They sit back, introducing more space within and between each other's notes. As time passes the overall tenor of the record has been established: darkly clouded, deliberate, and often ominous. A brief wakeup call midway through marks a spike in energy where musical phrases crowd together in a more jumpy fashion, but then it's right back to more quiet brooding, and finally a gentle flush of dissonant waves closes things out.

Restraint and coherence are the key factors here. The first quality means the music consistently skirts overstatement, the second means it still spans a range and tells a story. The title of the record (in either culinary or musical senses) is somewhat ironic, though. This jam is more black currant than strawberry, served with more deliberate intent than freewheeling abandon.

Visit Hopscotch Records on the web.

Track Listing

Nine untitled tracks. Recorded August, 2003.

Personnel

Assif Tsahar: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Mat Maneri: electric 5-string violin; Jim Black: drums, percussion.

Album information

Title: Jam | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Hopscotch Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read What Comes Next
What Comes Next
Peter Bernstein
Read A Silent Play in the Shadow of Power
A Silent Play in the Shadow of Power
Bruno Parrinha/Abdul Moimême/Carlos Santos
Read Suite!
Suite!
Roberto Magris
Read Jammin' With KC
Jammin' With KC
Sylwester Ostrowski
Read Rhythm City
Rhythm City
Ptah Williams, Larry Kornfeld, Rob Silverman
Read Stringers & Struts
Stringers & Struts
Rempis/Parker/Flaten/Cunningham
Read Live In Maui
Live In Maui
Jimi Hendrix Experience

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.