A progressive jazz guitarist with a preference for the electric strings and a light touch, Assaf Kehati unveils his third album Naked since arriving from Israel in 2007 and establishing himself as a modern force to be reckoned with. Kehati offers an album of primarily original music conveying a story behind every piece beginning with the title track that refers to his feelings of being ..."emotionally naked-with no barriers, limits or mask," translating musically into a nine-minute slow burn. Accompanying the guitarist on this album is Ehud Ettun on double bass and Ronen Itzik on the drums forming the trio that has been Kaheti's working group for the last several years.
The opening track "Song for Saba," is a slow, down tempo and melancholy tune written as a tribute for the guitarist's late grandfather upon his passing and the light warm nature of the tune reflects that somber occasion. While the majority of the repertoire is fresh new material, Kehati also includes three standards beginning with a dynamic read of the Jerome Kern classic "Long Ago and Far Away." Frank Churchill's familiar "Someday My Prince Will Come," is the second standard rearranged by Kehati which showcase stark solo moments from the leader as well as bassist Ettun.
Ornette Coleman's lively "When Will the Blues Leave" is the last standard on the set featuring a lively mid tempo romp qualifying the rendition as a bit of a swinger. Returning to Kehati's originals and keeping within the light nature of the music of this disc, the guitarist presents his most ambitious composition with the eleven and a half-minute intricate and challenging "Beneath the Almond Tree."
The remaining originals ("The Horses' Fight" and "Nathan Bo Rega"), do not stray too far from the main theme of the album offering similar approaches where the sound is pronounced by Kehati strong performance on the guitar. The story behind Naked is actually not that difficult to discern and appreciate, the music is simple at times, relaxing for the most part and very accessible. A masterful guitarist with two young up and coming musical partners, makes The Assaf Kehati Trio a pleasure to listen to and this session of modern progressive jazz, provides the naked truth about that.
Track Listing: Song For Saba; Long Ago And Far Away; Naked; Beneath The Almond Tree; Someday My Prince Will Come; The Horses' Fight; When Will The Blues Leave; Nathan Bo Rega; Outro.
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