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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Avram Fefer Trio - Eliyahu (Not Two, 2011) ****

By Stef

It's been two years since this trio released "Ritual", and this new release continues in the same, and excellent vain. I praised Avram Fefer's soulful lyricism on alto and tenor, I praised the fantastic rhythm section of Eric Revis on bass and Chad Taylor on drums, and I can only do the same now, and possibly even more.

From the very first notes, this album is guaranteed to bring you in a good mood. The ingredients are familiar, but it takes a good cook to turn these into a real special dish. You will hear lots of soul, African rhythms, blues, and all this on a solid relentless, often hypnotic rhythmic foundation with the leader sharing warmth and sympathy and musical joy and the love of life itself. Interestingly enough, it's only after writing the previous sentence that I read the same phrase in the liner notes, as one of the values that Fefer's late father, Eliyahu, tried to share with him. So he really manages to get that feeling across : the love of life, even in times of sadness.

Fefer's tone is like magic, it is round, clear, precise, and deeply emotional. Apart - or maybe as part of - from his lyricism, he also has an incredible sense of rhythm and pace in his improvisations, emphasising, pausing, building tension, or blowing away, accompanied with an incredible sense of focus on the original theme. 

And as a trio the band is strong, you hear the spontaneity and fluency of their interaction as a perfect match, as well in tone and overall musical approach, just listen how the solidity of Revis' vamp on "Essaouira" allows Taylor to go along on his cymbals with the lyricism of the tenor, then taking the lead in some deep rumbling on his toms.

Indeed a joy from beginning to end. You need a good mood? Don't hesitate.

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© stef