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The Knitting Factory’s long time commitment to the “Jewish Alternative Movement” has spearheaded some bona fide gems of late, one of which is Source by Matt Darriau’s Paradox Trio. Multi-reedman, Matt Darriau is one of the early proponents of melding jazz, Balkan/Mediterranean and klezmer music. Here, the Paradox Trio continue their cross-genre plight while serving up a highly entertaining potpourri of mainly traditional themes which annotate the provincial aspects of eastern territories.
Darriau’s composition, “Turkic” paints vivid imagery of perhaps a snake charmer somewhere on the streets of Morocco; although, Darriau composed this piece based upon a Jewish ghost story. Here, Darriau’s clarinet work incorporates elements of jazz coupled with eastern modal motifs and scales. No stranger to Balkan music, guitarist Brad Shepik who also runs with Dave Douglas in Tiny Bell Trio turns in some delightful fuzz-distorted guitar work on this piece. Shepik picks up the electric saz, (a member of the lute family) while vocalist Lorin Sklamberg sings in Turkish on the traditional composition titled “Uskudar”. On this track, Darriau’s wide open clarinet phrasing is engagingly melodic as cellist Rufus Cappadocia provides texture while counterbalancing Sklomberg’s quite emotional yet passionate vocalizing. Brad Shepik is skyward bound on the traditional piece, “Hora Hora”. Here, Shepik’s high octane guitar soloing may seem out of place on paper, yet fits into the grand scheme of things in grandiose fashion. A member of “Pachora” a band who also merge Balkan and jazz components, Brad Shepik is quite capable of picking up non-Western stringed instruments and going full cycle integrating hard-edged electric guitar.... The contemporary feel that these bands bring to the table has enlightened audiences throughout the world.....The concepts employed and enacted by these musicians must come from the heart in order to succeed...there lies the key to success. It is quite evident that the folks in Paradox Trio comprehend the idyllic aspects and ideologies of these native musical forms.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.