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Impressive Technique and Melody!

By Marc Zisman |

In 2018, Shai Maestro marked a milestone by joining the ECM team...

After four albums animated by a certain grace that stamped his name on the contemporary jazz scene, the Israeli pianist, with excellent rhythmic accompaniment (the Peruvian Jorge Roeder on double bass and the Israeli Ofri Nehemya on drums) embarked once again on the path of vibrant stories-within-stories.

Melodies inherited from the jazz repertoire but also from traditional oriental music or even Western classical music. Sources of inspiration like this great narrative tailwind are again summoned on Human, which was written with the same trio plus Philip Dizack, who brings a real personal touch. While taking care to digest the values of the trio, the American trumpeter brings this music closer to a certain classicism. It's a heritage that Maestro has always kept in his sights and that he celebrates here with Duke Ellington's In a Sentimental Mood, the only cover on the album, or on Hank and Charlie, a tribute to Hank Jones and Charlie Haden.

But it is the virtuosity – which is never ostentatious – of these four that impresses throughout Human. An impressive technique is put to work on the melody of the delicate (Compassion) and poetic (The Thief's Dream) themes on this record: themes all composed by Maestro himself.


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