Monday, February 13, 2017

Israeli guitarist finds simpatico quartet in his American home base with "The Village"

Born in Tel Aviv and trained in jazz on a scholarship to the New School, Yotam Silberstein has been a rising star on the
"The Village" is Yotam Silberstein's fifth recordings as a leader.
international jazz scene for about a decade. Like many Israeli jazz players who've become known in the West, Silberstein is unusually open to making the music truly multicultural in addition to putting a personal stamp on it. It sounds entirely natural and inevitable the way he goes about it.

On "The Village" (Jazz+People) he has the advantage of putting his fleet, melodic guitar style into a thoroughly compatible quartet context. His pianist, Aaron Goldberg, is often paired with Silberstein on this disc in unison statements of the tunes, most of them originals.

The partnership is subject to all kinds of steeplechase challenges, in songs like Carlos "Negro" Aguirre's "Milonga Gris," Lennie Tristano's "Lennie Bird" (a "How High the Moon" contrefact featuring lots of guitar-piano counterpoint) and the leader's own aptly named "Changes," a composition that seems as loaded with harmonic shifts as Coltrane's "Giant Steps."

Goldberg is a deft accompanist, with an even touch, as well as a soloist given to single-line soaring that never seems desperately in search of new ideas. The quartet is completed by bassist Reuben Rogers, set a little low in the mix but obviously contributing much to the texture, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, who's a focused whirlwind in the extra exposure he gets on Silberstein's "Albayzin," a piece inspired by a visit to Granada, Spain.

The title song brings it all back home, being a tribute to Greenwich Village, which Silberstein describes as "a very important place for me... musically and spiritually."  But the guitarist-composer says he also means to refer to the way music has become a global village. The piece picks up speed and energy as it proceeds, as if to fulfill the all-embracing insistence of this extravagantly gifted guitarist's muse.