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Zarek Silberschmidt: Rips and Tears

Zarek Silberschmidt: Rips and Tears
It is reasonable to suppose that a recording like this might have a limited audience, although "adventurous" might be a better choice of words. Zarek Silberschmidt is a virtuoso acoustic guitarist, familiar to audiences in Switzerland and Germany, and a disciple of Django Reinhardt, even if some Chet Atkins seems to slip in as well. George Ricci plays both clarinet and saxophone, although here his playing is restricted to clarinet, albeit of various persuasions. Sometimes Ricci does "klezmer meets Country and Western"; but elsewhere, he has a distinctly boppish feel, especially on "All the Things You Are." The fact that the same recording has a cover of "House of the Rising Sun" tells a listener that Ricci and Zilberschmidt really do not sweat genre-bending. "Rips" is a longish improvisation, although there is nothing jagged about it all. These guys swing hard without seeming to strain, and for the most part, the combination of horns, styles, and genres works.

Once again, one finds a recording that was made in spite of—of maybe even because of—the pandemic. Someday, a student will catalog all the imaginative jazz recorded under or just following those adverse conditions, occasionally in the face of personally experienced loss. When Ricci and Zilberschmidt toured to debut the recording, their audiences received them with palpable enjoyment. Small wonder. Something of the mix of pleasure and sorrow that characterized the waxing and waning of the pandemic can be heard in the music as well. Even though there are but two players, there is more than enough variety to hold a listener's interest.

On some tunes, Ricci leads and Zilberschmidt plays rhythm guitar, but that is hardly the only choice. Sometimes call and response is in order. Here their melodic and harmonic imagination is on full display. Both players also solo with aplomb. Indeed, they are part of a group of musicians who make appearances in each other's bands, and this personal familiarity is apparent. Anyone who doubts that jazz is the original "world music" ought to listen to this intriguing recording. This is not high-priced rockstar stuff, but exactly what musicians do all the time, with or without the hype that is the publicist's world. That is, make people happy. "Rips and Tears" is apt to make those lucky enough to seek it out happy as well.

Valery Ponomarev once recorded a tune entitled "Driving to the Gig." One knows these players have driven to plenty of their gigs for the sake of the art. They should have the broad and knowledgeable audience they deserve.

Track Listing

Little Wing; Dance Ambience; Struttin; Clair de Lune; Jerry's Breakdown; Rips; Blackbird; All the Things You Are; House of the Rising Sun; Tears.


Album information

Title: Rips and Tears | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Self-Produced



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