453

Sam Yahel Trio: Truth and Beauty

Celeste Sunderland By

Sign in to view read count
Sam Yahel Trio: Truth and Beauty Sam Yahel's Hammond B3 organ has been paired with stars like Norah Jones, Madeleine Peyroux, Maceo Parker and Bill Frisell, but with his fourth album as a leader, the organist reveals his own voice. It's confident, clever and gleefully vibrant. With saxophonist Joshua Redman and drummer Brian Blade, two stars in their own right, Yahel has formed an album that hovers in the most supple, downy realm of jazz.

The trio embarked on a musical expedition together several years ago with their collaborative group Yaya3 and Joshua Redman's Elastic Band, so they've already proven that they play well together. But the way the group forms an atmosphere of vibrating notes that bounce off each other, buoying the tone, is remarkable. Yahel's own compositions—six of which appear on the album—have a smart way of maintaining a focus in an otherwise fluid environment, by perpetually harking back to a theme, as if he's lining up an exuberant troupe for rollcall before the free space gets too big.

"Saba" opens with an allotted space for each individual, sounding like a metaphor for a world of perfect cooperation as Yahel begins the tune with a rapid-fire rhythm, followed by Blade's sharp response and Redman's replication of the line. Before the tune gets stuck in an overly contrapuntal back and forth, Blade acts as a fierce catalyst, propelling his mates into their own spheres, before they quickly pull back into the original theme. Even as each player takes a turn at a lead, the others continue their excited romp, creating a supportive impetus for the soloist.

But while Yahel often brings the sound back to a listener's region of comfort, he also surprises constantly throughout the album. "Child Watching" starts with an extraordinary sequence that combines hollow percussive rhythms with rapid blinks of electronic sounds; during "Festinhas," thick, modulating organ tones contrast with the metallic beat of the ride cymbal, creating a mesmerizing flow, and the title track's flurried opening sets an excited mood that makes you want to do the shuffle. The trio takes on a few covers as well, including Ornette Coleman's "Check Up," a carefully executed piece, carried off with an almost nostalgic reverence. But "Truth and Beauty" hits its most stunning moment when it reaches track six, Paul Simon's "Night Game"; Redman gives the sultry melody a strong but breathy dress, luring the organ into a complex narrative full of truth and beauty and quivering with grace.


Track Listing: Truth and Beauty; Man O' War; Check Up; Bend the Leaves; Saba; Night Game; Child Watching; A Paz; Festinhas.

Personnel: Sam Yahel: organ; Joshua Redman: tenor saxophone; Brian Blade: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Origin Records | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Spin Cycle" CD/LP/Track Review Spin Cycle
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 13, 2016
Read "Blackwater" CD/LP/Track Review Blackwater
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Live! from the Cantina: A Star Wars Jazz Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Live! from the Cantina: A Star Wars Jazz Tribute
by Jim Olin
Published: March 6, 2016
Read "Proximity" CD/LP/Track Review Proximity
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 30, 2016
Read "The Darkening Blue" CD/LP/Track Review The Darkening Blue
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 5, 2016
Read "Onwards To Mars!" CD/LP/Track Review Onwards To Mars!
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!