Having built a considerable reputation with fellow Israeli, bassist Avishai Cohen, on his fully realized, fulfilling ECM debut, The Dream Thief, pianist Shai Maestro readily creates a searching lyrical atmosphere, a unique blend of chamber improvisation, emotional eloquence, and communal virtuosity that serves the music and its grand moment of creation.
Maestro sets off with a delicate, spontaneous solo reading of the evocatively haunting "My Second Childhood," by popular Israeli composer (and Maestro's teacher) Matti Capsi. Built on an irregular meter, longtime bassist Jorge Roeder and new drummer Ofri Nehemya bring a flowing mystery to "The Forgotten Village." An invigorating round-robin trio chase lends the title track its symmetrical form, until Maestro breaks into free form improv. "A Moon's Tale" luxuriates in its freedom. Nehemya serves as the rhythmic heart and counterweight on "New River, New Water," an exciting trio workout that has the leader calling out exultantly as the tempo builds and builds.
"These Foolish Things" has Maestro soloing joyfully before the poignant closer, "What Else Need Be Done." Inspired by the Sandy Hook school massacre, this is a quiet hymn incorporating segments from President Obama's speech expressing the need for gun control. The other active ingredient in this shining debut is the clarity of production by ECM main man Manfred Eicher, whose vision has brought many recordings like this to life, with each one holding its own spark of life and originality.
My Second Childhood; The Forgotten Village; The Dream Thief; A Moon's tale; Lifeline; Choral; New
River, New Water; These Foolish Things; What Else Needs To Happen.