233

Sunny Murray, Assif Tsahar & Shmil Frenkel at Levontin 7, Tel Aviv

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Sunny Murray, Assif Tsahar & Shmil Frenkel
Levontin 7
Tel Aviv, Israel
June 11, 2007

Israeli saxophonist Assif Tsahar could have not find a better way to celebrate his birthday: a concert with one of the forefathers of free and modern jazz, American and Paris-based drummer Sunny Murray, with whom he recorded the beautiful Live at the Fundacio Juan Miro (Hopscotch Records, 2003) with the late bassist Peter Kowald, months before his premature death. The small underground hall of Levontin 7 with its familiar and appreciative audience provided a perfect atmosphere for such a great concert.

Murray, 71, is not as powerful a player as he was almost forty years ago when he played with Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler, but he is still one of the most original artists. He is gifted with a perfect, intuitive conception of rhythm that resonates a with a light swing groove while insuating a much broader space-time continuum with an internal logic of its own. Always smiling, never taking off his sun-glasses, and perpetually singing his own song, Murray demonstrated in the opening take-no-prisoners sonic assault his idiosyncratic playing. Aggressive and intense, he pushes the envelope but at the same time interlocks with his partners by indirectly referencing the structured rhythmic models of the be-bop legacy. The soaring solo-sax flights of Tsahar and the busy, all-over-the-bass playing of Frenkel served as striking complements to the energetic eruptions of Murray.



The second improvisation was even better. Murray, with mallets this time. began with a ethereal tribal rhythm that offered Tsahar, on the bass clarinet, a perfect platform for his imaginative, gentle and emotional playing. Frenkel, a last-minute substitute for Dutch bassist Wilbert de Joode, contributed delicate arco solos, and Murray led the trio into beautifully reserved and circular playing, culminating with all three musicians exchanging inspired solos. Frenkel chose to play less densely on this piece, and his personal rhythmic conception contrasted with Murray's playing while adding more colors to the rich palette of sounds that all three players brought to this improvisation.



Tsahar led the third improvisation, a slow blues, which was the emotional climax of this exciting set. Murray provided Tsahar with a steady rhythm but kept seasoning it with subtle touches and twists that added an edge of suspense and surprise; Frenkel, meanwhile, focused on expanding the free rhythmic basis that he along with Murray offered for the assured solos of Tsahar. This set ended after 45 minutes, at which point the three musicians returned for an encore which, while not replicating the magical momentum of the first set, still offered yet another example of the joyful and close affinity shared by these excellent and original musicians.

Photo Credit
Digi Dekel


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read WOMAD 2017 Live Reviews WOMAD 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Punkt Festival 2017 Live Reviews Punkt Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: September 17, 2017
Read Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium Live Reviews Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: September 16, 2017
Read 38th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival Live Reviews 38th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: September 15, 2017
Read Sue Rynhart at The Cresent Arts Centre Live Reviews Sue Rynhart at The Cresent Arts Centre
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 15, 2017
Read 38th International Jazzfestival Saalfelden Live Reviews 38th International Jazzfestival Saalfelden
by Enrico Bettinello
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "bigBANG Jazz Gang" Live Reviews bigBANG Jazz Gang
by David A. Orthmann
Published: October 21, 2016
Read "The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall" Live Reviews The Songs of Scott Walker (1967-70) at Royal Albert Hall
by John Eyles
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo" Live Reviews Mat Maneri and Tanya Kalmanovitch at Korzo
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Wadada Leo Smith At Firehouse 12" Live Reviews Wadada Leo Smith At Firehouse 12
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "Bob James Trio with Randy Brecker at the Blue Note" Live Reviews Bob James Trio with Randy Brecker at the Blue Note
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 21, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.