All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

174

Albert Beger 5: Listening

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
"We don't determine music, the music determines us; we only follow it to the end of our life: then it goes on without us."
—Steve Lacy

Israeli free jazz saxophonist Albert Beger, 45, has dedicated his fifth disc, Listening , to the late great saxophonist Steve Lacy. But unlike the Lacy quote, on Listening Beger delays his surrender to the music and opts for a more accessible musical statement. This disc, the first outing with a quintet after recording with quartet and trio formats where Beger was the main soloist, is the best Beger has delivered so far. With this collaborative quintet Beger is able to share the leading chores with two other soloists, but mainly Yoni Silver on the alto sax and bass clarinet. The quintet keeps Beger on the edge, pushing him forward, balancing him, but always in a very measured manner, too often too measured.

With the quintet Beger chose to record seven tracks, spanning a very short 45 minutes, with tight and focused arrangements. This compactness is one of the great virtues of Listening. But after the initial enjoyment from this exciting quintet, and knowing Beger's composing skills and his willingness to push ahead any boundaries, I found myself wishing that he would take more risks and stretch out a little more, especially with such sympathetic players.

The opening explosive track, "What a Day," represents Beger's attitude on this disc. It begins with a simple Aylerian anthem-like theme that all players follow, but soon enough Beger begins a wild and fiery, tough, too short solo that is followed by a Hendrixian distorted guitar solo by Yiftach Kadan, side by side with a passioned solo by Yoni Silver on the alto sax, but then it finishes quite abruptly after a short replication of the theme, leaving one wishing for more of this head. Only on "Karma" does the quintet play with total abandon, with intense high energy drumming by Fershtman, but again it ends too soon.

Listening also features Beger's sentimental side in his homage to one of the main influences on his playing, Albert Ayler, on the sweet and innocent ballad "Albert" and on another quiet and beautiful track, "Sasha"; but his cohorts in the quintet, Silver and Kadan, always counter Beger's sentimentality.

On the last track, "Baba Yogi" (Beger is a dedicated yoga student), Beger's improvisations pay a debt to Lacy and one of the forefathers of the small Israeli free jazz scene, clarinetist Harold Rubin, with whom Beger began playing free jazz.

"Music speaks for itself, and needs no explanation or justification; either it is alive, or it is not." Again, a Lacy quote that Beger and his producer, Yossi Acchoti, chose for the liner notes. Indeed, the music through Listening is full of vitality, and it speaks volumes on behalf of Beger.


Track Listing: What a Day; I Was Here Before; Albert; Listening; Karma; Sasha; Yogi Baba

Personnel: Albert Beger- tenor and soprano saxophone; Yoni Silver- alto saxophone, bass clarinet and organ; Yiftach Kadan- guitar; Gabriel Meir- bass; Hagai Fershtman- drums

Title: Listening | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Earsay

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Long Story

Long Story

Albert Beger
Peacemaker

CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Way To Go

The Way To Go

Jazzis Records
2014

buy
 

There's Nothing...

Ayler Records
2012

buy
There’s Nothing Better To Do

There’s Nothing...

OutNow Recordings
2012

buy
Peacemaker

Peacemaker

Anova Music
2010

buy
Big Mother

Big Mother

Earsay
2008

buy
Listening

Listening

Earsay
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read Smart Grid CD/LP/Track Review
Smart Grid
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 16, 2018
Read Monochrome CD/LP/Track Review
Monochrome
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: July 16, 2018
Read Attitude Manouche CD/LP/Track Review
Attitude Manouche
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 16, 2018
Read Geometry of Caves CD/LP/Track Review
Geometry of Caves
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 16, 2018
Read This World of Dew CD/LP/Track Review
This World of Dew
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 16, 2018
Read Gegenschein CD/LP/Track Review
Gegenschein
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 15, 2018
Read "Desert" CD/LP/Track Review Desert
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 13, 2018
Read "Transition" CD/LP/Track Review Transition
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 30, 2018
Read "Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik" CD/LP/Track Review Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik
by Doug Collette
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "A New Beginning" CD/LP/Track Review A New Beginning
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "La Terza Via" CD/LP/Track Review La Terza Via
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 9, 2018
Read "Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017