Thursday 13 October 2011

Review: Assaf Kehati

Assaf Kehati - Flowers and Other Stories (Akjazz)
This is Kehati’s sophomore release Flowers and Other Stories. He brings to the table a plethora of musical experience that can’t be called into questioned. His background: Masters from New England Conservatory, Boston, and studies at Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music (member of Berklee International Network), Israel. He has been working with drummer Billy Hart and performed at the Blue Note, NYC, the Washington DC Jazz Festivals, the MuzEnergo International Jazz Festival, etc, etc. The list goes on and on.

I always listen to the first piece very, very carefully. It’s what the artists has personally chosen to be the first piece of music to hit your ears. I have to say I was extremely impressed with the opening track "Calling me Home” certainly a dynamic number which possessed my full, unadulterated attention. I expected sing songy jazz that was predictable in nature and easy to follow – compatible for a mass audience. What I discovered was quite the opposite actually. The whole CD is wonderfully simple but full of energy and music that appeals to the senses. It reminds me a little of Grant Green and of course Pat Metheny. There are both fantastic and melancholy moments on Flowers and Other Stories here which gives the sound a much complex yet marketable feel. There were also some entertaining moments throughout but also a few pin drop moments as well. From top to bottom Flowers and Other Stories is an extremely polished sounding production with amazing sound quality, legendary musicianship and top of the line musical compositions.

The most amazing thing about Assaf Kehati Quartet is they appeal to both advanced and novice listeners alike. This is harder to do than it sounds – and shouldn’t be strived for, rather it should come just naturally. Kehati is an amazing talent and he has proven himself worthy of praise with this latest string of songs. There’s nothing more dangerous than an Israeli musical savant armed with a guitar, a gift and a one-way ticket to the United States. Need I say more?
Adam Taylor

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