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 Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Together, As One" CD/LP/Track Review Together, As One
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Fly South" CD/LP/Track Review Fly South
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "Gin Fizz Fandango" CD/LP/Track Review Gin Fizz Fandango
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 20, 2016
Read "Rejoice! I'm Dead!" CD/LP/Track Review Rejoice! I'm Dead!
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Janus" CD/LP/Track Review Janus
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "I Just Want to Get Paid!" CD/LP/Track Review I Just Want to Get Paid!
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!