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Uri Gurvich: Kinship

Dan Bilawsky By

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It's all about fellowship, culture, and concordance of spirit and sound. Put simply, saxophonist Uri Gurvich's Kinship is diversity and unity in league.

Gurvich's third release, following The Storyteller (Tzadik, 2009) and BabEL (Tzadik 2013), keys in on many of the same aspects as his earlier work. The music is a multicultural amalgam that speaks to the leader's Argentinian and Israeli roots while also existing as a reflection of his longstanding quartet's worldly membership—Bulgarian bassist Peter Slavov, Argentinian pianist Leo Genovese, and Cuban drummer Francisco Mela appear on all of the saxophonist's albums. This is most certainly an extension of what came before, but Kinship isn't just more of the same. Gurvich modifies his musical Esperanto here to focus on and celebrate the strength in differences, the commonalities in various cultural realms, and the beauty in togetherness.

Whether tapping into folkloric veins or feeling out the spaces between various traditions, Gurvich manages to find common ground on which to unite his group and bring every musical aspect in play together. It's his gift, something that he was born to, but also something that he developed through hard work with mind, hands, and horn. Listen to the Mela-launched, tumbling waltz take on "Go Down Moses," tying African American spiritual to Jewish history; hear the way "El Chubut" closes the distance between Argentina and Israel, bringing literal and figurative poetry to bear in the introductory melding of Genovese's piano and the vocals of Bernardo Palombo; observe the harmonious marriage of major and minor tonalities in the beautifully floating title track, focusing on similarities rather than differences; and check out the melding of Middle Eastern lines, blues sentiments, and Latin grooves on "Blue Nomad" to get a clear view of Gurvich's musical DNA in the driver's seat. Nothing's the same from song to song, but everything's essentially cut from the same cloth. That's what the broad view tells us here.

In adopting an open stance, Gurvich manages to remain true to his ancestry and himself. The music presented on Kinship may have been created and captured in a New York studio, pointing toward the place these men call home nowadays, but it doesn't belong to any single locale. Uri Gurvich and his crew are true citizens of the world, spreading messages of love and oneness through the music.

Track Listing: Song for Kate; Dance of the Nanigos; El Chubut; Twelve Tribes; Im Tirtzi; Go Down Moses; Kinship; Blue Nomad; Hermetos; Ha'im Ha'im Intro; Ha'im Ha'im.

Personnel: Uri Gurvich: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Leo Genovese: piano; Peter Slavov: bass; Francisco Mela: drums; Bernardo Palombo: vocals.

Title: Kinship | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Jazz Family

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