Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

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 Vilddjur CD/LP/Track Review
Vilddjur
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Lines in Sand CD/LP/Track Review
Lines in Sand
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It CD/LP/Track Review
Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 11, 2018
Read The Brave CD/LP/Track Review
The Brave
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Strings 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Strings 1
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 11, 2018
Read Pillars CD/LP/Track Review
Pillars
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 10, 2018
Read "Piano Works" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Works
by John Sharpe
Published: April 26, 2018
Read "Movement" CD/LP/Track Review Movement
by K. Shackelford
Published: May 18, 2018
Read "Say" CD/LP/Track Review Say
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 30, 2018
Read "Seldom in the Well" CD/LP/Track Review Seldom in the Well
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 4, 2018
Read "Life I Know" CD/LP/Track Review Life I Know
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 4, 2018
Read "Full Circle Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Full Circle Vol. 2
by Don Phipps
Published: October 4, 2018