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Sam Yahel, From Sun to Sun
Origin Records, Aug. 16

By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Now in his 10th year of working with bassist Matt Penman and drummer Jochen Rueckert, Hammond-and-piano jazz master Yahel concentrates all his effort here on the art of conversational expressiveness rather than outright groove or fusion panache. As the alpha instrumentalist he makes great use of his completely uncluttered terrain, for the most part pecking out prettily constructed phrases fit for a National Geographic special on hummingbirds. This record, then, is experimental to a degree, but there are familiar footholds, like the chill of Donald Kahn’s “A Beautiful Friendship” and a skittering version of Cole Porter’s “So In Love.” The contribution of drummer Rueckert can’t be overstated; his cymbal hand and brushes are in perpetual fast-motion, adding a layer of depth that’s at once gentle and hyper-animated. More good news (for me anyway) is that there’s very little Hammond on here; it’s mostly piano. A —Eric W. Saeger






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