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Monday, May 25, 2009

Avram Fefer Trio - Ritual (Clean Feed, 2009) ****

Melodic, energetic, soulful, spiritual. Hesitating between bop and free jazz, this is a nice album, consisting of lengthy and focused improvisations by this great trio led by saxophonist Avram Fefer. The bass is in the masterful hands of Eric Revis, known from the Branford Marsalis Quartet and Chad Taylor plays the drums, known from the Chicago Underground Trio to give for both just one reference. Despite the limitations of the trio, all three manage to make this a captivating performance. "Shepp In Wolves' Clothing" is a tribute to Archie Shepp with whom Fefer performed, but starts of like a Vandermark composition, uptempo and highly rhythmic, and Fefer even blows the theme on two horns simultaneously after a while. With a few exceptions, Fefer's sax is almost permanently on the foreground, much like David S. Ware, filling all possible space with notes, and only pausing to let his band-mates take a solo. This absence of silence to a large extent determines the dynamics of the music, even in slower pieces such as "Feb. 13th", and Fefer's rhythmic lyricism is a pleasure to hear. The band does not take too many musical risks, but listen carefully how all three manage to maintain a strong focus on each piece, despite the apparent freedom. The quality of the music and of the performance is sufficiently high to make this a very enjoyable album.

Listen and download from eMusic.

© stef