One of the more interesting trends in the last several years is the melding of modern jazz sensibilities with traditional Jewish klezmer music. The New Klezmer Trio, John Zorn’s Masada, and David Krakauer have all created some powerfully moving music within this context. Hasidic New Wave’s Jews & the Abstract Truth is a haunting, exhilarating ride. While the title implies a light-hearted approach, the music is in fact quite moody and intense. This is by no means a criticism.
The disc opens with the driving "Satmer Hakafos #6," which veers between Ornette-ish abstraction and wedding dance music abandon. Co-leader Greg Wall burns on tenor sax and David Fiuczynski turns in some slippery guitar licks. "Sim Shalom" cooks over a funky groove and features amazing solos from Wall, Fiuczynski and co-leader Frank London on trumpet. "Tzur Mishelo" is a somber ballad full of emotion and poignant beauty. Percussionist Aaron Alexander and bassist Kenny Davis contribute solid, imaginative support throughout.
Other highlights include a gorgeous tenor saxophone feature on "Last Temptation of Lady L" and "Eliyahu Hanovi", the exhilarating wedding dance music of "V’smatcha", a freeform horn dialogue on "Welcome to the McDonald’s in Dachau", with Ben Goldberg of the New Klezmer Trio sitting in on bass clarinet, and the funkified freak out of "Finale:’Juba’".
The deep traditions of both Jewish music and jazz are honored in this outstanding release. Highly recommended.
Satmer Hakafos #6, Sim Shalom; Tzur Mishelo; Last Temptation of Lady L.; Eliyahu Hanovi; V
Greg Wall, tenor sax; Frank London, trumpet; David Fiuczynski, guitar; Kenny Davis, bass; Aaron Alexander, drums.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.