Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

159

Aaron Goldberg / Ali Jackson Jr. / Omer Avital: Yes!

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
The strains of wistful longing are almost palpable right through the length and breadth of Yes!, a remarkable album by a remarkable trio. Pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Ali Jackson Jr. play with such empathy that they appear of one mind, body and soul. This is the stuff that significant music has been made of for decades, which is why this trio sounds as if it were raising the ghost of those of the great Ahmad Jamal. Few records can compare with Yes! for its sheer beauty, singular brevity of statement, richness of ideas and absolutely virtuosic perfection. Such complete beauty is rare in a world where so many bright minds are dazzled and so overrun by instrumental prowess that statements often turn out to be glib, and even interesting voices are snuffed out for want of subtlety in dynamic, tone, texture and instrumental timbre. What's more, there is a complete lack of a sense of history amongst too many musicians; but not these ones.

Part of Goldberg's ingenuity is that he appears to be a keen student of musical history. This is why pianists as diverse as Willie "The Lion" Smith, Thelonious Monk, Abdullah Ibrahim and Keith Jarrett lurk inside his feverish brain. He has listened intently to these masters, intently chopping up their essences and grinding the result into one authentic and personal voice which is singularly spare and intensely lyrical. Sensing the mood and emotion of the songs, Goldberg issues brightly colored, darting and probing lines that rise like the flight of so many beautiful butterflies. Avital's audacious, forthright and folksy style is a perfect foil for this sensuous approach, and the rusts and golden shades which he uses dapple the melody of songs with tonal brilliance and a sweeping palette of colors. Avital recalls the ebullience of the kibbutz as much as he does the blues of Charles Mingus. And then there is Jackson Jr., a percussionist who plays with superior intellect, like a young Max Roach, whose choice of gently stammering notes takes precedence over bludgeoning technique. Using this melodic approach, Jackson Jr. brings sweetness to the music that is otherwise elegiac and ponderous and beautiful but often sad.

Despite this—or, perhaps, because of tracks such as "Maraba Blue" and the longing of "Homeland"—the music is uplifting and triumphant. The emotional artery that feeds the music played by these old cohorts becomes a mature blush that reaches one of its many high points on charts like "Epistrophy" and "Manic Depressive." This is when their empathy is at its greatest and the glue that binds the musicians shifts from one to the other as they showcase their enormous skills, rendering the album memorable for more than one reason.

Track Listing: Maraba Blue; Yes!; Aziel Dance; Epistrophy; El Soul; Way, Way Back; Homeland; The Shepherd; Manic Depressive.

Personnel: Aaron Goldberg: piano; Omer Avital: bass; Ali Jackson Jr.: drums.

Title: Yes! | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Child in Me CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Way Home CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 17, 2017
Read "We Live Here" CD/LP/Track Review We Live Here
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2017
Read "New Jazz Standards, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review New Jazz Standards, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "Live with a Boom" CD/LP/Track Review Live with a Boom
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Serenade for Horace" CD/LP/Track Review Serenade for Horace
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Chromola" CD/LP/Track Review Chromola
by John Eyles
Published: March 23, 2017

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!

Please support out sponsor