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Hasidic New Wave: Kabalogy

Glenn Astarita By

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Trumpeter Frank London and saxophonist Greg Wall convey a bit of humor while describing Kabalogy as they intimate loose comparisons to Mahavishnu and Zappa while appending Hasidic names to the above. “Hasidic New Wave” compliment bands such as John Zorn’s Masada, or a host of upstart New York City based groups that meld Klezmer, Fusion, Ornette Coleman or deep-rooted Jewish folklore into contemporary yet highly inventive jazz phraseology. With a new crop of recordings, many of which were reviewed in the August edition of AAJ, Kabalogy may be the most “musically” accessible of the lot, on a grand scale of course.

From the opening moments of “Purple Vishnu” we know that “Hasidic New Wave” incorporate disparate musical elements which seem to caress fusion, offer tight Brecker Brother-ish horn charts along with linear yet alternating motifs. Dave Fiuczynski’s smoking yet slinky-like guitar lines throw a pleasant wrench in the works along with fine soloing by London and Wall. “Kabalogy” features more tight, and at times swinging ensemble work which rekindles thoughts of early 60’s West Coast arrangements complete with shifting meter and heartfelt soloing. Positive vibes abound as many of these compositions feature Jewish folk overtones with added doses of Balkan style riffs and thoughtful musings perpetuated by crafty compositional development. Melody is the key – as this band often work through complex yet endearing concepts seldom sacrificing a tune in lieu of raucous technical gyrations; although the soloing is top notch. On “Oh Dear, Who” Hasidic New Wave sound like a large scale version of the band “Babkas” of which drummer Aaron Alexander is a member, as they incorporate rapid ethnocentric Eastern themes with jazzy chord progressions and vicious soloing. The final track, “Giuliani Uber Alles” features vocals, which carry political overtones directed towards New York City’s feisty mayor, Rudy Giuliani. Kabalogy is zestful, relaxed.....sort of like a bright sunny day! But don’t be fooled, these guys can turn it up a few degrees! It’s the cool, upbeat attitude here which gives this outing, staying power! Highly Recommended!! * * * * ½

Title: Kabalogy | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Knitting Factory Works

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