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Album Review

Jonathan Reisin: Option B


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Jonathan Reisin: Option B
Although Option B is Israeli saxophonist Jonathan Reisin's debut album, its music suggests a much more seasoned artist at work. With lapidary instincts for crafting smart compositions and a beguiling tone on his instrument, Reisin has a convincing sense of purpose, not to mention first-rate colleagues who help him convey his musical message.

Reisin is credited with six compositions here, along with a couple of freely-improvised tracks, the first of which, "One," captures Reisin's aesthetic nicely. With a remarkably unhurried delivery, Reisin patiently offers languid phrases, with just the right touches from pianist Moshe Elmakias and drummer Nitzan Birnbaum in support. An invitation rather than an announcement, it welcomes the listener into the album and sets the stage for music which is often bathed in warmth despite its occasional hint of an acerbic edge. Too brief at under a minute and a half, it is complemented by "Juka," the album's closer, another free improvisation which allows Reisin to stretch out more fully alongside a more demonstrative presence from Elmakias and drummer Brian Richburg Jr, who alternates with Birnbaum on the album's eight cuts.

Reisin's compositions retain the spirit of freedom found on the open-ended improvisations. Pieces such as "Roy's Room" and "Around Day Two" have complex themes, but they often give way to moments of less determined space, allowing the musicians to find intertwining paths which give these pieces additional sparkle and an element of surprise when things snap sharply into focus. The willingness to let the pieces unfold of their own accord, without having to over-fill the sound with constant activity, is one of the ways in which the maturity of Reisin's approach reveals itself.

In addition to his fine work on tenor saxophone, Reisin's facility on soprano sax is also worth noting. He plays wonderfully on "Option B," a piece which begins in a tranquil vein but eventually develops into an animated dialogue with Elmakias and Birnbaum. On "Four Boats" an ominous undercurrent leads Reisin into his most assertive playing on the album, with some especially spirited leaps and surges as it moves toward its conclusion. "It's Not the Same" offers a more buoyant temperament, with a lovely opening from Elmakias providing a quietly lyrical foundation on which Reisin builds with gentle, understated elegance.

An assured debut which heralds a promising future, Option B offers a good deal of high-quality music over the course of its forty-minutes, It is an easy album to recommend enthusiastically.

Track Listing

One; Glue; Option B; Roy's Room; Around Day Two; Four Boats; It's Not The Same; Juka


Jonathan Reisin: saxophone; Moshe Elmakias: piano; Brian Richburg Jr: drums; Nitzan Birnbaum: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Brian Richburg, Jr.: drums (2, 4, 5, 8); Nitzan Birnbaum: drums (1, 3, 6, 7).

Album information

Title: Option B | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Habitable Records

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