Bassist Fima Ephron is well-known for his affiliation with many of the musicians who comprise New York City's fertile and generally investigative Downtown Scene. Ephron's participation with the excellent band Lost Tribe, amid recent collaborations with electric guitar hero David "Fuze" Fiuczynski, signifies only a few of his endeavors besides enjoying first call status as a session musician. With his debut release, the artist enlists support from his Lost Tribe band-mates, saxophonist David Binney and guitarist Adam Rogers. However, keyboardist Edward Simon's breezy yet sometimes blazing Fender Rhodes work actuates a 70's style jazz-rock feel, whereas drummer Jim Black and the leader lay down the often-beefy rhythms.
Simply put, Ephron doesn't smack his electric bass into submission. He doesn't base his approach upon the pursuance of flashy 16th notes or string slapping escapades, although he can soar to the red zone when required. Essentially, the bassist possesses a lustrous tone, further enhanced by his pumping notes and ability to utilize all registers as a vehicle for harmonization or accentuation. On the piece titled "Hasidic Folk Song," Ephron renders punctual lines atop Jim Black's burgeoning pulse and David Binney's thought-provoking conveyance of a Jewish folk melody.
The musicians intertwine odd-metered backbeats with a distinct sense of thematic expansion, while Rogers and Binney generate much excitement via their blistering crescendos and intricately developed harmonic variations. With "A Desert Storm," the band ventures into a slightly tongue-in-cheek psychedelic space vibe, thanks to David Torn's trippy EFX-based treatments and an ostinato synth groove atop the rhythm sections' surging undercurrents. Thus, Soul Machine is all about the gleeful coexistence of Jewish folk music and zesty modern jazz type interplay, while the ensemble augments its palate with craftily arranged jazz-fusion motifs. Ephron's wittily concocted compositions also feature characteristics that parallel the vim and vigor of an artist who has quite a bit to say. Recommended!
Track Listing: Yemenite; Hasidic Folk Song; Pyramid; Oyfin; Yashkar; Moses; A Desert Storm; Scroll; Deadly Play Of Numbers; Noir.
Personnel: Fima Ephron: bass; Edward Simon: keys; Jim Black: drums; Dave Binney: saxophone, clarinet (6); Adam Rogers: guitar. Special Guests: David Torn: oud, samples, voice (6); Buba Gisa Majerowitz: voice on (10); Mike Ephron: voice (4); Greg Wall: clarinet (6).
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
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