327

Mark Feldman / Uri Caine / Greg Cohen / Joey Baron: Secrets

Warren Allen By

Sign in to view read count
Mark Feldman / Uri Caine / Greg Cohen / Joey Baron: Secrets Mark Feldman, Uri Caine, Greg Cohen and Joey Baron have all played integral parts in John Zorn's many explorations of Jewish improvised music. All four have won acclaim for the distinctness and flexibility of their sounds, but here they work in a setting that defines the meaning of traditional.

With a group such as this, it would be impossible to explore any theme, new or old, without bringing flares of insight. Secrets finds them interpreting a variety of niggunim, the often wordless prayer melodies sung by sects of Hasidic Jews, and they mix a jazz sensibility with slight, indefinable touches of the avant-garde to create a quartet that speaks many languages in one voice.

A distinct warmth and color is brought to a variety of songs by the group, from Caine's bright, swinging keys on the opening "Lubavitcher Nigun," to Cohen's gentle, adroit bass on "Kel Adon." As the instrument most commonly found in traditional Klezmer, Feldman's violin sings with unparalleled distinctness. Plaintive at times, alternately tinged with darkness and comedy at others, his sound is almost unmatched. Meanwhile, Joey Baron's understated percussion gives shape to the atmosphere with whisks of brushes and cymbals.

Most of the album focuses on slower, more ruminative melodies, allowing the performers space and time for inflection and reflection. "Z'Chor Dovon," in particular, is full of transcendent beauty. It opens with a heartfelt melody on violin, backed by a lone piano for one recitation before the entrance of bass and drums. Feldman brings a mournful touch here, which is balanced out by a kind of hopeful humor in Caine's keys.

"Chabad Nigun," "Satmar Rikud," and "Z'Chor Hashem" are joyous masterpieces of up-tempo jazz, with Feldman and Caine testing the lines with modernistic chords and occasional, dissonant bow tweaks. But at the faster paces, these songs also attain a certain joyous folk dance quality that seem to pull gently but persistently at the toes. It's music with roots in many places, from the wedding hall to the jazz club. Baron's solos here are distinctly jazzy, but he peppers the toms with an unrestrained ebullience that speaks beyond setting.

For the closing "Moditzer Nigun," Cohen's nodding bass paves a hypnotic path for Caine's graceful keyboard steps. Deeply moving, filled with whispers of the blues, there is a tone of respectful nostalgia here that shines light on the best sides of tradition. The duet epitomizes the sound of a group that brings rich, emotional playing no matter where or how they play. Those enchanted by the beauty of Secrets will, no doubt, be asking Tzadik for more.


Track Listing: Lubavitcher Nigun; Avinu Malkenu; Chabad Nigun; Z'Chor Dovon; Satmar Rikud; Bobover Nigun; Kel Adon; Z'Chor Hashem; Moditzer Nigun.

Personnel: Mark Feldman: violin; Uri Caine: piano; Greg Cohen: bass; Joey Baron: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Tzadik | Style: Latin/World


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Sea Changes" CD/LP/Track Review Sea Changes
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 29, 2016
Read "Altadena" CD/LP/Track Review Altadena
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "The Volume Surrounding the Task" CD/LP/Track Review The Volume Surrounding the Task
by John Eyles
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Rubicon" CD/LP/Track Review Rubicon
by John Kelman
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "Mujo" CD/LP/Track Review Mujo
by John Sharpe
Published: July 16, 2016
Read "The Frog, The Fish and The Whale" CD/LP/Track Review The Frog, The Fish and The Whale
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!