If music has the potential to tell stories, saxophonist Oded Tzur
proves himself one of the jazz world's premier storytellers on Translator's Note
. "Single Mother," the tune that opens the set, is a vibrant novelette, haunting and atmospheric, riding on the undertones of Indian classical musica winding tale that gathers intensity and momentum, a sculpting of sounds that is by turns exotically lovely and searingly anguished.
Schooled in a myriad of musical styles, the supremely cohesive set is a striking hybridization of the American jazz form, Middle Eastern modalities, Indian rhythmic concepts and Tzur's incorporation of microtones, in the embrace of superbly synchronized quartet. It is a disc that would fit in well with the ECM Records sound.
"Welcome" is a beautiful rollick, and "The Whale Song," paired with Tzur's eloquent liner notes on the theme, sounds like a a sonic cross between the biblical mysticism and Gabriel Garcia Marquez' magical realism. Hereand everywhere else on the setTzur's tenor sax sounds like almost any reed instrument except the tenor sax: bass flute, bass clarinet, oboe. And his quartet, a standard line-up with the sax joined by a piano/bass/drums rhythm section, sounds unlike any other quartet out there: nuanced and empathic, occasionally frolicsome and always gorgeously unorthodox with it's mix of influences.
"The Three Statements Of Garab Dorje" glides like a monorail on magnetic suspension, Tzur smoldering, and John Coltrane's "Lonnie's Lament," the disc's only non-Tzur original, closes the show on what seems a deep rumination on supernatural matters and ghostly apparitions.
Of special note: pianist Shai Maestro
's extended step out frontwrapped in drummer Ziv Ravitz
percussive poetry and bassist Petros Klampanis
' warm, human heartbeaton the thirteen minute "Single Mother" begins as an ode to introspection and gathers into one of most joyous and intoxicating pieces of piano artistry on record this year, a story within a story.
Single Mother; Welcome; The Whale Song, The Three Statements of Garab Dorje; Lonnie's Lament.
Oded Tzur: tenor saxophone; Shai Maestro: piano; Petros Klampanis: bass; Ziv Ravitz: drums.