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Track List: listen
Im Ninalu - 8:04
Song for a Dying Country - 8:38
Sefarad Bass Intro - 2:07
Sefarad - 9:12
The Abutbuls - 8:57
The Immigrant\'s Anthem (Sad Song) - 4:52
Song for Sankum - 7:59
Alona - 6:06
A Night in Zeboulon - 6:07
Avishai Cohen - trumpet
Yonatan Avishai - piano
Omer Avital - bass
Daniel Freedman - drums
"This band is killer . . . timeless." -
The New York Times
"The music sailed intensively in a universal space with influences of Monk, Jazz Messengers, Latino, Jewish Klezmer and Mingus style Tijuana beat, funk and dub . . ."
- Ma'ariv (major Israeli daily)
Almost ten years ago in Barcelona, a unique brotherhood was formed that we now know as the super-group, Third World Love. Trumpeter Avishai Cohen ("an assertive and accomplished trumpeter with a taste for modernism", The New York Times), pianist Yonatan Avishai ("Genius pure and simple", Ha'ir), bassist Omer Avital ("knocking fresh slang out of the bass . . . some of the most original music being heard in New York", The New York Times), and drummer/percussionist Daniel Freedman (whose drumming retains a sumptuous authenticity, as if he learned everything from the dusty street of some South America or Africa urban center", Modern Drummer), came together for a one time tour, that swiftly transformed into a regular recording/touring group that carries with them the massive appeal of a band that you feel proud to declare yourself a fan of; the type of band that you can easily identify within seconds of hearing them.
This April Anzic Records releases Songs and Portraits, the long awaited new recording from Third World Love. Their brilliance and magnetism grows out of the deep respect and love they show each other through the music on their new recording. The lack of ego and self-serving showboating leaves the listener to revel in four musicians delivering their singular brand of music that perfectly balances adhering to, and expanding the traditions of jazz, African, Latin and Middle Eastern music.
On Songs and Portraits, we find Third World Love returning to their jazz roots, while naturally retaining influences from around the world throughout the music.
"As the years pass, we are less afraid of being a jazz troupe and becoming more inclined to go for what we feel like doing," says Cohen. "Jazz is the ocean that we swim in, it's our home, but we also grew up listening to rock, African, Arabic and a lot of other music", explains Avital. "What's so great about the culture of Third World Love is that any of us can bring in whatever music he wants, regardless of which direction it's from. Our concept is our closeness and friendship".
Highlights on Songs and Portraits include the opening song, "Im Ninalu" (a traditional Jewish Yemenite, liturgical theme) arranged by pianist Yonatan Avishai, which fits the band like a glove and sets the tone for the album. "Alona" (which will also appear on Freedman's recording Bamako by Bus being released simultaneously with this album) is a ballad of astounding beauty written by the drummer for his daughter when she was six months old. She was sleeping next to the piano when he composed it. Freedman's compositional contributions don't end there. He also brought in the tune, "Song for Sankoum", "inspired by a kora line that my friend Sankoum Cissoko played. I stayed with him and his family for a while in Dakar, Senegal", explained Freedman.
The middle section of Songs and Portraits is a compositional tour-de-force for bassist Omer Avital, beginning with "Sefarad" (the ancient Jewish name for Spain), his reflection on the deep tradition of Flamenco music; followed by "The Abutbuls", a rhythmically-charged minor key Middle-Eastern theme, with a brilliant effect-laden trumpet solo from Cohen; and wrapping up with the contemplative lament, "The Immigrant's Anthem (sad song)". All four members of the band have contributed music to each of their recordings, and Songs and Portraits follows that tradition with trumpeter Avishai Cohen contributing "Song For a Dying Country", a moving melody over a swinging waltz, with exceptional solos from Yonatan, Freedman and Cohen (one of his most soaring and fiery excursions). The recording closes with Yonatan's mysterious, ruminating "A Night in Zebulon."
More on Third World Love:
Throughout Israel and Europe Third World Love routinely plays for large crowds (often a thousand plus strong) of mostly young people dancing and partying; not your typical jazz scenario - but actually a very exciting part of the perpetual story of jazz and "world" music; reminiscent of the rambunctious, out-for-a-good-time crowds that jazz musicians entertained in another era. Third World Love is a band that is generating excitement for jazz amongst a new generation of fans with a distinctive brand of music that is a blast to get into, physically and/or intellectually. Time Out Tel-Avivput it succinctly, "Forget what you thought about jazz . . . Never in my life have I seen so many people moving to the sounds of such complicate melodies and harmonies. When the music is created on stage, there is no choice but to listen, shake your ass and notice how your stupid smile is getting bigger and bigger every second."
Thirty seconds into the first tune they ever played together (Wayne Shorter's "Juju") and the guys became aware that this was going to be a "dream-band" type of experience. It has proven to be that and more. In addition to numerous sol-out tours, Third World Love has released four highly successful recordings, Third World Love Songs, Avanim, Sketch of Tel Aviv, and New Blues (Anzic, 2008). Three of its members originate from Israel, where the band enjoys a level of fame approaching rock-star status, and one from New York, Daniel Freedman. With the band continuing to make inroads into the U.S. scene with their second U.S. tour touching down in San Francisco and NYC this Spring, the music on Songs and Portraits is sure to captivate current fans and recruit new Third World Love enthusiasts in great numbers.
A magnificent and virtually flawless recording. 5 Huge Stars.
@CrticalJazz - April 2012
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