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Marsh Dondurma: Te'amim Hadashim (New Tastes)

Eyal Hareuveni By

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Israeli Marsh Dondurma is a kind of New Orleans-ean/Balkan/fifteen-player jubilant marching band named after a favorite Turkish ice-cream. The combo adds Klezmer, Turkish and other Middle-Eastern and even Brazilian batucada-based spices to this percolating stew, all baked through an Ellingtonian framework. A much more sober version of Goran Bregovi''s Music for Weddings and Funerals (2002) or Emir Kusturica's No Smoking Orchestra, and certainly more disciplined than the Japanese Shibusashirazu Orchestra, but still delivering the sane joie de vivre. This second recording was released just after band returned from successful performances at the 2007 Montreal Jazz Festival.



Not all the compositions on Te'amim Hadashim exhaust the great potential of this ensemble, but when they lock onto a groove the outcome is irresistible. The mass of brass and wind players is used cleverly on the opening two tracks. On the traditional "Abou Nign, based on a song from Lag Ba'omer festivities, the infectious and repetitive theme gains momentum as the song progresses to its inevitable climax. "Dervish, by Aviran Ben-Na'im (also the pianist in Israeli saxophonist Albert Beger quartet), features an even richer and sophisticated arrangement, Ellingtonian in its spirit and elegance, and uncovering a myriad of colors and shades, with an impressive frantic soprano sax solo by Gal Dahan.



The beautiful melody of "Blue Camel," by Yinon Muallem (an Israeli percussionist residing in Turkey), receives a wise arrangement by Ben-Na'im. The soulful ensemble playing, together with a virtuoso solo by Yair Muallem, is sometimes reminiscent of oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil's ironic compositions, where one can imagine Ornette Coleman injecting Harmolodics into a Middle-Eastern celebration, and from which everything is possible. The reserved arrangement of the popular traditional Andalusian "Lama Bada, popular all over the Mediterranean, is a highlight with its emotional and elegiac theme.



Ban-Na'im's "Kick Your Ass and Dance" is a loose Latin tribute to Stan Kenton's orchestration that highlights the brass section, although the title promises much more than the song delivers. The most daring composition is an innovative arrangement of Ellington's "Blue Pepper," from his The Far East Suite (Bluebird/RCA, 1967)., again by Ben-Na'im, that charges its Middle-Eastern-tinged theme with a tight funky groove. The two live recordings of the group that conclude this release feature Marsh Dondurma at its best—the humorous funeral march of "The Whoopin' Blues" and the wild arrangement of Dejan Pejovi''s "ÄŒigra"



Marsh Dondurma is a band that sounds a bit paler in the studio and much more polite than needed, as opposed to its live and in-your-face incarnation. Still, this recording offers many new tastes of its unique dish.


Track Listing: Abou-Nign; Dervish; Yam;

Personnel: Aviran Ben-Na'im: trumpet; Idan Raveh: trumpet; Ariel Parnas: trumpet, flugelhorn; Eli Perminger: trumpet; Yaacoc Gurnstein: alto and soprano sax; Gal Dahan: soprano sax; Danny Leibovic: tenor sax; Anton Falco: tenor sax; Arnon De-Bouton: trombone; Louisa Salomon: trombone; Udi Raz: sousaphone, tuba; Dotan Yogev: snare drum, cymbals; Noa Segal: snare drum, clarinet; Adiel Goldman: snare drum, tambourine; Yair Reuveni-Zaltzman: bass drum, doul, bells; Guest: Yair Muallem: darbouka, dif, bendir.

Title: Te'amim Hadashim (New Tastes) | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Self Produced

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