Friday, March 09, 2018

Uri Gurvich Kinship

Uri Gurvich
Jazz Family

Per its publicity materials, the Israeli born saxophonist latest release "deals with tribal and familial connections between different cultures and individuals, representing "kinship" in various forms." Gurvich is joined by his quartet of the past decade including Argentine pianist Leo Genovese, Bulgarian bassist Peter Slavov and Cuban drummer Francisco Mela. On one selection, "El Chubut," Bernardo Palombo provided and sang lyrics to Gurvich's theme.

On the opening "Song For Kate," Gurvich quickly establishes himself as a saxophonist full of warmth and invention with Genovese comping under the driving, twisting solo before he himself takes a torrid solo. Genovese further shines brilliantly on "Dance of the Ñañigos," with its surging rhythm (Slavov is outstanding) with another authoritative alto sax solo from the leader as Mela propels the performance. Palombo recites a poem from a political prisoner during the Argentine dictatorship of the 1980s to open the somber "El Chubut" and then dramatically sings against stately backing with the leader intensely soloing and accompanying him. A Middle Eastern tone is present on the energetic "Twelve Tribes," with its reference to the tribes of Ancient Israel as Gurvich impresses with the fullness of his tone and there is  an impressive Mela solo also here.

Slavov is outstanding on bass on delightful, bouncy Sasha Argov composition "I'm Tirtzi," while the rendition of the spiritual "Go Down Moses," likely will evoke the classic Coltrane Quartet with Gurvich on soprano solo, Genovese in a McCoy Tyner mode and Mela channelling Elvin Jones. Both of these performances have the group chanting towards the close. "Ha'im Ha'im," (also composed by Sasha Argov) is introduced with a bass solo on another performance that might evoke for some the classic Coltrane Quartet for some and again Mela is superb while Genovese also sounds inspired in his own manner. The title track, in contrast, might suggest Keith Jarrett's European Quartet, with Genovese's playing an impressionistic solo.

This is a superb group of which I am most familiar with Genovese from a tour I saw him part of. They all play with considerable authority and fervor resulting in some enthralling listening.

I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the November-December 2017 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 375) although I made minor edits to that review. Here is a video of Gurvich and band.

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