Jazz is often dominated by our personal Star Systems: people like and listen to their particular favorites, and are suspicious of the New, but if you open the gate and look around, you will find pleasures. Those four names in the title and the four faces above may be new to you — even though I’ve profiled drummer-composer Doron Tirosh here — but they make beautiful music and they’ve created a CD: Ofer Shapira, clarinet, alto, flute; Ofer Landsberg, guitar; Ram Erez, string bass.
Jazz is sometimes joyously assertive. Having soundwaves rocking the room or the inside of your skull can be an experience you abandon yourself to. But there’s also a sweetly subversive music that woos and insinuates, quietly, music with pauses, air space, nearly translucent, but still paying homage to melody, harmony, rhythm, improvisational swing. To put it another way: this new CD adds oxygen to the room rather than removing it.
Here’s BIRD OF PARADISE (based on Charlie Parker’s improvisation on ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE):
and the Gil Evans – Miles Davis classic:
This music in itself doesn’t need explication, although I will say it’s melodic and thoughtful rather than “running changes”; this quartet walks into the songs rather than treating them as stereotypical “bebop and cool tunes that everyone has to know.” But Ofer’s note is valuable:
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone associated with the world of music and art, including myself, but it has also given me a chance to let go of the everyday activities and look deeply into myself and my art. This album – Lockdown, has been a product of this search within. After several intensive years of playing in different jazz bands, combos, teaching, etc. I had the welcome chance of playing with no special purpose, deciding what and how I wanted to practice, focusing on my sound and approach and trying to refine them and so I got the urge to record and capture this moment. The great Duke Ellington once said: “I don’t need time, what I need is a deadline,” and so I set myself a record date and started writing some new tunes – two of which I liked and will feature on this album. I also carefully handpicked some jazz standards that I really liked playing over the years and that I felt complemented the sound and feel of this album. I’m so grateful to the three wonderful musicians who agreed to join me on this project – Ofer, Ram, and Doron. They simply played magnificently and I’m sure anyone who listens to this album would agree. And so here is the album is in front of you – I hope you’ll enjoy the music and that the 2020 lockdown will have some positive memories for us all.
What else do you need to know? The CD contains a lovely mix of standards, jazz classics, and two melodic originals by the leader: BIRD OF PARADISE / SHALIACH / CELIA / LOCKDOWN / SUBCONSCIOUS-LEE / YOU ARE TOO BEAUTIFUL / SKYLARK / JITTERBUG WALTZ / BOPLICITY. It’s issued on Gut String Records (see here) and it’s available on Spotify and iTunes as well. Your ears will tell you everything else about this unpretentious warm music.
May your happiness increase!