Yotam Silberstein - Future Memories

Label: Jazz&People, 2019

Personnel – Yotam Silberstein: guitar, vocals; Glenn Zaleski: piano, Fender Rhodes; Vitor Gonçalves: accordion, piano, keys, percussion; John Patitucci: acoustic and electric bass; Daniel Dor: drums; Andre Mehmari: synthesizers.

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Few artists are capable to blend post-bop and Latin jazz with such a class as the Tel Aviv-born guitarist Yotam Silberstein. He possesses the indispensable technique, rhythm, and lyricism to succeed in the challenging fusion genre, and Future Memories, his sixth album as a leader, is a multi-cultural voyage into his forthright musical universe. The influences come from many directions, yet there’s an emphasis on Brazilian music here, displayed in a couple of tunes by mandolin master Hamilton de Holanda and an erudite rendition of “Choro Negro” by samba/choro icon Paulinho da Viola.

Holanda’s “Capricho de Donga” is filled with rhythmic nuances, featuring extraordinary bassist John Patitucci in a pulsating solo with tons of melody, whereas the flamenco-ish vibe of “Capricho de Espanha” let us indulge not only in the brisk melodicism of the guitarist, but also in the kaleidoscopic exuberance of pianist Glenn Zaleski, an assiduous presence in the New York scene. There is also this Ravel-like sumptuosity marking the improvisational section, which is pleasantly relaxing.

Another Brazilian-influenced piece is Silberstein’s “Impedimento”, where the rapturous atmosphere of choro gains amazing propulsion with the electric bass flow and the rippling percussive groove of drummer Daniel Dor. The Brazilian accordionist Vitor Gonçalves, who doubles on piano on some other tunes, is seen in perfect union with the bandleader and both improvise on this tune. The engaging phrasing of the guitarist shows both the strong affinity with the jazz tradition and his close relationship with South American music. The fusion feast ends in rock-ish mode, though.

Matcha” is definitely a highlight, showing how strong is the writing of Silberstein. The group, aside from intensifying the rhythm with manifest accentuations, keeps grooving under an odd tempo. There are undercurrents in the music that meet conveniently at a certain point, comparable to a big river that collects the water flow from smaller streams. Both the guitar and piano solos are worthy of attention, with Zaleski following the bandleader in his improvisational spirit, but interpolating his single-note phrases with pungent chords in the lower register. The ambiance nearly touches a dreamy state before Dor’s snare and tom-tom work come to prominence. Although revealing a complex execution, this piece sounds good to the ear.

Future Memories” and “Wind on the Lake” are musing songs in six and three, respectively. Whereas the latter takes the form of a folk song at an early stage through the usage of acoustic guitar, the former boasts an ethereal air brought either by Silberstein’s modulated vocalizations or the silky harmonic tapestry weaved by Gonçalves’ accordion and Andre Mehmari’s synth waves.

The imaginative arrangements always find space for personal points of view, and Future Memories reinforces music as a culturally boundless celebration.

Grade  A-

Grade A-

Favorite Tracks:
01 - Future Memories ► 02 - Matcha ► 04 - Impedimento


Troy Roberts - Nu Jive Perspective

Label: Inner Circle Music, 2018

Personnel – Troy Roberts: saxophone; Tim Jago: guitar; Silvano Monasterios: keys; Eric England: bass; Dave Chiverton: drums.

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New York-based Australian saxophonist Troy Roberts, a two-time Grammy-nominated artist/composer, releases a rhythmically provocative album, his eighth as a leader, in the company of an adventurous quartet: guitarist Tim Jago, keyboardist Silvano Monasterios, bassist Eric England, and drummer Dave Chiverton.

The opening track of Nu-Jive Perspective, “Fame & Four Tune”, is an amalgam of Steve Coleman’s M-base and Michael Brecker’s crossover jazz. With Roberts expelling fierce popping sounds from his tenor, the tune’s passages oscillate between ecstatic turbulence and hip composure.

Abiding by a 6/8 meter, “Slideshow” incorporates an immersive sax solo over a funky strut. Mordant wha-wha bass thumps and organ flare-ups are also part of the show. Rippled wha-wha effects also mark the short “Phish HQ”, whose conglomeration of soul, jazz, and funk vibes recalls Jamiroquai’s style.

The bass pumps 5/4 grooves with vigor on the emphatically rhythmic “Table For Five” and “Jack The Sipper”. With the rhythm team playing in the pocket, the latter piece thrives with remarkable improvisations by Roberts and Jago, two exciting soloists. The soulful, explorative side of the guitarist is ruling on “Adamant Eve”, an R&B song, slowly developed with deep melodicism and a hip-hop beat; as well as on the shifting “Through The Eyes of Psychoville”, whose vertiginous rhythm takes us to a psychedelic neo-funk realm intercalated with moments of pure jazz.

The lullaby-ish melody introduced by Monasterios on “Professor Ghetto-Rig” is posteriorly overlapped by the cool funk that slinks its way through the groove. Roberts also maintains a close relationship with melody on “Avni Lane” and the more contemplative “Belle”, whose pure laconic voice diverges from the joy imparted by the gospel-infused “Veepea-Are”.

Nu-Jive Perspective is a kaleidoscopic and groove-oriented endeavor that showcases Roberts’ passionate musicality. The way he traverses styles feels all at once genuine, accessible, and daring.

Grade  B+

Grade B+

Favorite Tracks:
04 - Jack The Sipper ► 06 - Avni Lane ► 08 - Through The Eyes of Psychoville