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Monday, September 29, 2008

The New Albert Beger Quartet - Big Mother (Earsay, 2008) ****

Israeli tenor saxophonist Albert Beger can be fierce, and also very gentle, yet he's always expansive. He appears to be influenced by both Coltrane and Ayler, at times sounding like Redman. His new quartet further consists of Aviran Ben Naim on piano, Gabriel Meir on bass and Yoav Zohar on drums. In contrast to his trios with William Parker and Hamid Drake, the addition of the piano brings the music more into post-bop territory, with a lyricism and emotional outbursts which will surely please the fans of Jarrett's early 80s quartets, with sax and piano having changed the lead role, of course. And even the more mainstream, more composed tracks such as "Tales Of Beelzebub", quickly evolve into very powerful improvisations by sax and piano, pushed forward by a strong rhythm section, ending in abrupt stop-and-go unison breaks. "Point Of No Return" is a heartrending duet for sax and piano. "Big Mother" refers to nature and mother earth, as an ode and a lament about the deterioration of the planet, as illustrated by the sad album cover on which a mother and child look at a waste dump. The march-like cadence of the track gives the inevitability of progress, or vaguely reminiscent of the Sorcerer's Apprentice in Disney's Fantasia, over which first the arco bass, then a mournful sax wails and weeps. Yet the last track "The One For Hope", shows some light at the end of the tunnel, although starting very sad, with a very loose structure and rhythm, gradually moving to a more light-footed approach, especially because of the piano's high-toned playing and Beger's soaring sax, leading to a gentle composed ending. A strong achievement.

Listen and download from eMusic.

© stef


Mossburg said...

Listen on Deezer: