Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Elisha / Rubin / Elisha - East of Jaffa [OutNowRecordings]

Ehran Elisha - drums
Harold Rubin - clarinet
Haim Elisha - piano

OutNow Recordings 2011

The 24th Krakow Jewish Festival, barely behind us*, is a perfect pretext to have a look at Israeli improvising scene. OutNow Recordings is based in Tel Aviw and managed by Yoni Kretzmer (a might sax player himself, you may find reviews of his cds "Overlook"  and the Brooklyn based 2 Bass Quartet's "Weight" on the blog) and guitarist Ido Bukelman (with a couple of fine releases on his own as well). However when the label was launched back in 2011 the premiere releases were two sessions with the drummer Ehran Elisha. I've written a while ago about his duo with Roy Campbell "Watching Cartoons with Eddie" but the trio "East of Jaffa" is well worth a look back.

The musicians on the disc are Ehran Elisha on drums, his son Haim Elisha on piano and Harold Rubin - one of the founders of Isreali improvising scene. The music on the disc is completely improvised but "East of Jaffa" is nost stricly speaking a trio album as some of the pieces are played in duo settings as well. 
The interplay is quite focused and the material echoes classical traditions of romanticism, tango ("Speaks Two Languages Tango" piano and drums duo) or even burlesque (a humoresque stride in "Serpentine Suite") but most of all it reflects the abstract language of modern composed and improvised chamber music. Rubin is definitely most willing to break loose but the father and the son join him willingly, while providing some melodic and rhythmic backbone to his musings.
The title track begins the cd with a suspense narration, with piano creating a sense of urgency through repetitive patterns laying the platform for clarinet's outburst phrases. "Empatico" has Elisha with a light beat and surprising accents on the drums while Rubin would break the rhythm with arhythmic phrases. The cd ends with a pensieve, spare piano - clarinet duo "Sages", a sonic image of a chiaroscuro sculpture with deliate whisper of the clarinet. 

"East of Jaffa" is subtle and creative improvised music, a set of instant pieces co-composed in realtime by the musicians with open ears and minds and those who share those qualities should appreciate it abundantly.

*at least it was when I started to write the post.

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