Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Erik Friedlander / Daniel Zamir Quartet at Tempel Synagogue (24th Krakow Jewish Festival day 4 and 5)

I'm waiting impatiently for tonight's concert by Sharabi project with Frank London and Deep Singh. I believe Frank London is a crucial person to the Radical Jewish Music ever since the mighty Hasidic New Wave. He's as well crucial to the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival having played part in probably every edition of the festival, did you know 1998 performance by the Hasidic New Wave was released by Not Two records?

Few words only about last two evenings. Not too many since you can watch the concerts yourselves on the festival's web channel which is far better than reading others' thoughts on it and I invite you to follow the live transmissions during the week.

Erik Friedlander began the week with a beautifully intimate solo performance a suite "Songs of Scribes" he was commissioned to write by Jewish Museum in New York for an exhibition of manuscripts of jewish, christian and muslim sacred texts. 
The music felt like a beam of light in the dark space, shining with beutiful harmony. Be it the symmetry of medieval madrigals, the emotivity of folk dances like tarantella.  Friedlander's performance was delivered with profound maestry of the instrument, grace and kindness. You could play a shoestring, Coltrane used to say, if you're sincere. It doesn't hurt to be a virtuoso on the top of that as well.

Daniel Zamir used front a dynamic trio Satlah that would shake the jewish music in the key of the free jazz. This year he came back to Krakow with a mainstream jazz combo and with a clearly mainstream project "Saxophonist on the roof". Can you imagine a more iconic culture "text" than the epic soundtrack of the "Fiddler on the roof"? Ironically, the music itself, has little to do with authentic folklore but nevertheless it become one of the cultural lenses through which we look at the jewish culture. 
Zamir and his cohorts would re-interpret the hit songs from the musical in the key of modern jazz, they'd just enough harmonic complexity to the original material and groove to make it all work fine. Bit too elegant, bit too smooth for my taste, but personal preferences aside, sparks were flying with the streaming solos of the leader on the soprano and Omri Mor on the piano. It was definitely a crowd-pleaser and the crowd wanted more, including some chanted call&response. I'd be too much of a cynic to not honestly enjoy "If I were a rich man" with the funky groove. 

Check the quartet's concert on the festival's channel, meanwhile let's jog our memories with the music by Satlah.

Erik Friedlander - cello
Tempel Synagogue. 30.06. 24th Krakow Jewish Culture Festival

Daniel Zamir Quartet
Daniel Zamir - soprano saxophone, voce; Omri Mor - piano; Gilad Abro - double bass; Amir Bressler - drums
Tempel Synagogue. 01.07. 24th Krakow Jewish Culture Festival

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