Saturday, June 27, 2015
Assif Tsahar & Tatsuya Nakatani - I Got It Bad (Hopscotch, 2014) ****
Sax-player Assif Tsahar has a very distinct profile as a musician. With his own bands or with the Digital Primitives, his voice is one of soul, of the pleasure of sound, the joy of rhythm or the fun of the interplay with like-minded musicians. Drummer and percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani is also a musical nomad living in the US, and his style is more cerebral with an approach that is more in the moment than Tsahar's linear progression, yet both are story-tellers of a different nature, but the interaction is excellent.
Their third album together is also named after a Duke Ellington song, but the music is anything but Duke Ellington's. Tracks like "Gaze", can be reminiscent of 60s cool jazz, a slow dancing piece, but then almost of a drunk nature, "Reclaim", is a fierce free jazz blow and beat session, "Whisper" is more fragile, performed on bass clarinet and multiple little percussion instruments, "Search" is slow and mysterious, and I have the impression that with each of the twenty short tracks, the music gets darker and darker, culminating in a wonderful bass clarinet on "Glow" to - almost - end the album.
They have lots of different approaches here, lots of different styles, yet it's still coherent, unassuming but good.
And "they got it really bad". Nothing to cheer you up, but an album to thoroughly enjoy.