Rafi Malkiel: My Island


Sign in to view read count
Rafi Malkiel: My Island Latin jazz artists faces important choices when shaping their debut album. First-time leaders write original music or interpret standards—the resultant repertoire and musical expressions display wisely chosen risks or lack of judgment. Musicians invite guest artists to perform, adding a sense of cohesion or confusion to the album's overall sound. The musical direction deserves careful consideration; the recording represents the musical identity that will follow their name. Trombonist and euphonium player Rafi Malkiel offers a broad range of Latin styles and jazz ideals on his debut as a leader, My Island.

Malkiel arranges several standards, incorporating both jazz tradition and cultural authenticity. Malkiel's euphonium slyly sings the melody on "Nature Boy, over a Columbian porro rhythm, trading phrases with clarinetist Anat Cohen. The song bursts into a Cumbia rhythm behind Cohen's melodically inventive solo and tenor saxophonist Chris Karlic's intensively searching improvisation. Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust adopts an elegant beauty as a danzón, both through Malkiel and bassoon player Gili Sharett's sensitive melodic interpretation and its intricate arrangement. Malkiel's group demonstrates a clear jazz foundation, and their creative arranging establishes a unique personality.

Several original pieces showcase Malkiel's mastery over harmonic ideas and Latin rhythmic structures. An improvised exchange between Malkiel, trumpeter Steve Gluzband, and percussionist Anthony Carrillo slowly segues into an up-tempo bomba rhythm on "Blue Bomba. Karlic plays a bebop-flavored solo through the blues changes, followed by bassist Andy Gonzalez's rhythmically intricate statement. Malkiel and Cohen exchange melodic ideas over a Brazilian rhythm on the opening to "Choro for Anat. Cohen aggressively drives sequences into the upper register of her instrument, while bassist Dave Hertzberg finds a balance between melodic and rhythmic ideas. Malkiel's writing combines interesting jazz ideas with rhythmic traditions and creates inspiring settings for improvisation.

Malkiel also invokes Caribbean traditions, utilizing vocalists and sparse instrumentation. A quasi-symphonic introduction gives way to a steady series of montunos from pianist Jack Glottman and tresero Chacho Schartz on "Guajira con Trombón. Schartz's tres solo brings an authentic sound and phrasing to the song, complemented by Carrillo's intensive percussion feature. Malkiel delicately shapes the melody on the bolero "Los Tres Juanes, followed by Abraham Rodriguez's conventional Cuban vocal. The passion and longing in Rodriguez's voice provides a sincerely sentimental atmosphere. These songs ground the album in Caribbean culture, establishing a connection between modern experimentation and past tradition.

Malkiel's finely tuned musicality and creative spirit lead him to a variety of wise artistic choices that shape My Island. His reconstruction of several jazz standards marks both knowledge of jazz history and performance practice. Malkiel's creative application of Cuban, Brazilian, Columbian, and Puerto Rican rhythms reflects a broad study and an ability to see beyond convention. Malkiel's supporting musicians confidently support his overall concept, and his interaction with them proves inspiring. All these elements display a musical maturity beyond first-time bandleader status, laying the foundation for a successful future in the Latin jazz world.

Track Listing: Gozambique; Black and Tan Fantasy; Danza Magica; Los Tres Juanes; Nature Boy; Stardust; Coballende; Blue; Bomba; Fuga, Fuga, Fuga; Ze Hu Ze; Choro for Anat; Guajira con Trombn

Personnel: Rafi Malkiel: trombone (1, 2, 4-9, 13), euphonium (3, 5, 10, 12); Abraham Rodriguez: lead vocal (4, 7), vocals (7, 13), clave, guiro (4, 6, 7, 13); Anthony Carrillo: bongo, timbas, bells, chekere, maracas (1, 4, 6-9, 13); Andy Gonlez: baby bass (1, 4, 7-9); Dave Hertzberg: upright bass (2, 3, 5, 6, 12, 13); Henry Cole: drum set (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13); Jack Glottman: piano; Pablo Mayor: piano (3); Anat Cohen: clarinet (2, 3, 5-9, 12, 13); Chris Karlic: tenor saxophone (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 13); Itai Kriss; flute (1, 2, 4, 6-9, 13), vocals (7), guiro (6); Steve Gluzband: trumpet (, 6, 8, 9, 13); Gili Sharett: bassoon (2, 6, 13); Howard Johnson: tuba (2); Chacho Schartz: tres, vocals, lyrics (13); Ronald Polo: tambora, snare drum (3, 5); Morris Caate: alegre, platillos (3, 5); Sergio Borrero: llamador, maraca (5); Ze Mauricio: pandero (11, 12).

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Raftone | Style: Latin/World


More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "New Shoots" CD/LP/Track Review New Shoots
by Mike Oppenheim
Published: March 10, 2016
Read "Honey For The Biscuit" CD/LP/Track Review Honey For The Biscuit
by James Nadal
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "Zośka" CD/LP/Track Review Zośka
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 8, 2016
Read "Summergold Promises" CD/LP/Track Review Summergold Promises
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Anthology - Bigger Than Life" CD/LP/Track Review Anthology - Bigger Than Life
by Doug Collette
Published: December 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!