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 The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Collage of Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Collage of Moments
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Guess Who I Saw Today" CD/LP/Track Review Guess Who I Saw Today
by Edward Blanco
Published: July 14, 2016
Read "Fe" CD/LP/Track Review Fe
by James Nadal
Published: August 30, 2016
Read "Stick Men + David Cross: Midori" CD/LP/Track Review Stick Men + David Cross: Midori
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "City Colors" CD/LP/Track Review City Colors
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 28, 2016
Read "Altered Narratives" CD/LP/Track Review Altered Narratives
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 2, 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!