Jerome Sabbagh


Fresh Sound New Talent

Jerome Sabbagh (ts), Ben Monder (g), Joe Martin (b), Ted Poor (d)

Reference: FSNT-203

Bar code: 8427328422031

Disaue d'Emoi by Jazz Magazine

Jerome Sabbagh has been writing music and leading his own bands since 1995 as part of the vibrant young jazz scene in New York. In Ben Monder (guitar), Joe Martin (bass) and Ted Poor (drums), he has found some of the most talented musicians of this generation and like-minded accomplices. The breadth of their respective influences, the strength of their personalities and their collective commitment to modern, organic music are evident in all original tracks assembled on North.

1. North (5:07)
2. Follow the Light (6:22)
3. Extatik Eztetik (6:26)
4. Indian Song (5:55)
5. Sick Leo (6:52)
6. Trip (7:01)
7. Hymn (5:50)
8. Every Now and Then (5:23)
9. Not Quite Blue (6:35)

Album details

All compositions by Jerome Sabbagh.
Recorded by James Farber at Brooklyn Recording, New York, live to two tracks analog tape, June 2, 2004.

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Press reviews

"With "North", Mr. Sabbagh proves himself a quietly commanding tenor saxophonist and composer in the postmodern mainstream; his sleek ensemble sound owes a lot to the guitar playing of Ben Monder."
- Nate Chinen, The New York Times


"Multifarious elements differentiate Brooklyn-by-way-of-Paris' Jerome Sabbagh from the tenor-playing pack, such as forward-thinking, tradition-rejecting compositions that bring to mind the big O, as in organic. Another, more obvious element distinguishing this session is the presence of Brooklyn's own Ben Monder in what has to rank as the premier performance by a sideman in 2004. It's simply impossible to imagine this set of erudite originals without the spectrum of colors from the guitar, from delicate pointillism to ebullient abstraction, that Monder so fluently provides.
This is also the debut of precocious 22 year-old drummer Ted Poor. A product of the Eastman School, Poor's nuanced approach belies his years, showing hints of rock references and an exhilaratingly intentional untidiness that bears the modern influence of Jim Black. The fact that the recording was done by James Farber live to two track analog tape pertains here in terms of fidelity, because it's the drums that benefit most from this technique. Not the distant sound of the drums we hear on live recordings or that shimmering studio sound, it's simply what jazz drummers sound like from ten feet away, with Poor's kit sounding uncannily like he's set up right in my bedroom or subway car. Whatever it is Farber's doing, he's on the right (two) track(s).
Trip is an uptempo new modern standard, a quick unison sprint by Monder and Sabbagh, buoyed by Poor's loose groove, Sabbagh taking flight over Monder's pianistic comping. Refreshingly reference-free throughout, the tenorist can nonetheless invoke classic Trane or chromatic, ultramodern Lieb, especially when he double-times here. There's nothing Monder can't do as well as anybody who has ever done ithe just does more things that incredibly than any other player. His Trip yields vintage liquid linearity, pausing for breath at the appropriate times to maintain the swing factor. Poor kicks a solo swingingly old-school before a quick wind-down ends this efficient modern cooker.
Extatik Eztetik mines similar territory, a loping melody giving way to an impossibly coordinated unison blow between the guitarist and tenorist. The guitarist echoes and elaborates on this unison passage in his solo spot, with shorter, clipped phrases gradually elongating into longer cascades. A supernatural level of interplay between Sabbagh and Monder is evident on the haunting ballad Follow the Light, with Monder simply continuing his solo, dancing with Sabbagh throughout the tenor's restatement of the melody and out to tune's end.
Indian Song waxes ethnic, landing on Sabbagh's gorgeous turnaround/refrain over Poor's jangling clatter. Sabbagh's explorations are set off here beautifully by Monder's lighting-quick classical arppegiations until the guitarist and drummer simply go off in aggressive spine-tingling fashion. For more in this vein, make sure to check out Monder's bait-and-switch freakout on the solo for the ECM-esque folk stylings of Hymn.
Yet another in the long line of auspicious debuts from Fresh Sound New Talent artists, this one stands out even from what is becoming that label's usual exceptional standard."
- Phil DiPietro, All About Jazz


"Mon premier est un saxophoniste français exilé aux Etats-Unis depuis dix ans, copain du pianiste Laurent Coq, forgé au contact de la jeune garde new-yorkaise ; mon second est un impressionnant all-stars emmené par le toujours plus actif Seamus Blake ; mon tout est la somme de deux nouveautés parues coup sur coup sur le label Fresh Sound du producteur-mélomane espagnol Jordi Pujol. Jérôme Sabbagh, cest lénergie tranquille, une manière de contourner plus que de façonner, un phrasé qui ne force jamais le trait. Question déquilibre et de dosage. Sa forte personnalité repose à la fois sur une grande liberté dimprovisation et le goût des harmonies sophistiquées (Wayne Shorter nest jamais très loin), ce qui pourrait aussi être les fondations de North où sillustre lun des guitaristes préférés de Marc Ducret, Ben Monder, qui fait ici office de pianiste tant son registre harmonique est d'une impressionnante amplitude. Clarté, élégance, panache : ce quartette franco-étatsunien quon espère croiser sur les chemins de nos clubs nationaux mérite notre émoi de fin dannée !"
- Jérôme Plasseraud, Jazz Magazine, December 2004.


"This record labels moniker and statement of purpose fits rather snugly with New York City based jazz saxophonist Jerome Sabbaghs artistic merits. Therefore, hes a smooth operator who possesses a warm toned sound, complemented by a noticeable edge. Featuring modern jazz guitar hero Ben Monder and a pepped up rhythm section, Sabbaghs compositions are constructed upon concise melodies that often serve as improvisational foundations. The saxophonist is quite adept at churning out dreamy lines, augmented with harrowing themes and mystical frameworks. But more often than not, Sabbagh and Monder render tricky unison choruses atop odd-metered grooves and hard-bop stylizations. Monder puts the pedal to the metal during some spacey, free-jazz meets jazz-fusion type motifs and a few somnolent, blues oriented passages. Meanwhile, drummer Ted Poor stretches out on the fluently executed bop piece titled, Trip. Overall, Sabbaghs latest release is a memorable one at that! Recommended."
- Glenn Astarita, Jazzreview.Com


"Parisian born saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh seems to be on the right path to finding a distinct voice and style in his music. Since his move from France to New York the musician has been heavily involved with area musicians as a sideman and as leader of his own quartet. His new release is a refreshing statement with elements of mainstream, cultural, and original material that articulates his own musical language. Sabbagh plays with a warm tone filled with feeling and technical savvy and his quartet is equally balanced with drummer Ted Poor and bassist Joe Martin. But the performance by guitarist Ben Monder is simply outstanding with memorable solos and rhythm work. Some of the shining moments include the rural modernism of The Hymn, the soothing flow of Follow The Light, and the jazzy blues stroll of Sick Leo which totally rocks."
- By Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz, January 2005.


"Jerome Sabbagh brought his tenor to the Big Apple from France a few years ago and quickly gelled with some of NYC's best young progressive players. On his debut as a leader, North, Sabbagh explores a potpourri of styles with a decidedly modern mindset to offer up an original program of newly composed music. His quartet includes the technically talented triumvirate of bassist and labelmate Joe Martin, phenomenal guitarist Ben Monder, and young drummer Ted Poor.
Things begin with a fast-paced trip North that seemingly starts down south with a breezy Latin feel courtesy of Poor's cymbal work and Monder's comps. The muted guitar and full fledged tenor sound of the ballad Follow the Light and straightahead jazz of Every Now and Then contrast with the open expansiveness of the disc's most out number, Indian Song. Sabbagh and Monder pair up nicely for crisp in tandem playing on the melodious Extatik Eztetik before they, along with Martin and Poor, each in turn improvisationally investigate. All then embark on a rhythmically interesting Trip courtesy of some masterful modern drumming that becomes a willing vehicle for an improv that touches on blues/jazz and rock.
Poor and Martin are again right there with the quirkily plodding rhythm of Sick Leo, who is more than cured by a healthy dose of tender tenor tonic followed by some bluesy convulsive jolts of electric guitar. The awe-inspiring mood of Hymn is the appropriately solemn setting for Sabbagh to sing praise with a lovely tenoric line and for Monder to shout his own hosanna with sustained plucked notes. North shows that Sabbagh and his quartet can cover a lot of ground in a multitude of directions."
- Elliott Simon, All About Jazz


"El sello Fresh Sound New Talent parece seguir exprimiendo néctar de aquellos europeos que deciden continuar su formación musical en Nueva York. Y es que parece que la fórmula de una base clásica a la europea, cumplimentada con una formación jazzística estadounidense funciona. Javier Vercher es uno de los frutos de esta combinación, y no lo es menos la presente grabación.

North es un disco que bien podría clasificarse de easy listening. No es un disco complejo, transversal, que intente giros ni sustituciones de acordes complejos, disonantes. La facilidad en la escucha del disco radica en que los temas se desarrollan buscando la horizontalidad, dilatando los compases de las melodías a lo ancho, buscando las notas precisas en cada momento, con sutiles cambios de escala y, eso sí, provocando una sensación de velocidad con la continua contracción y expansión de las ráfagas de notas.

El diálogo entre guitarra y saxofón es espléndido. El papel de Ben Monder no es de mero espectador, sino que en muchos momentos del disco roba el protagonismo al tenor de Jerome Sabbagh (en las primeras escuchas tuve la impresión de que el CD estaba firmado por el guitarrista), y en otros, el soporte de acordes arpegiados que la guitarra lleva a cabo sobre los fraseos del saxo hacen que el oído se fije más en el músico secundario que en el protagonista del fraseo (los dos primeros minutos del CD, con el tema North, son un claro ejemplo de esta impresión). En términos generales, los temas suenan brillantes, y sólo en determinadas ocasiones, tales como Indian Song, el cuarteto se separa de las frases cálidas para buscar el contraste entre acordes disonantes y melódicos, con fraseos entrecortados del saxofón y una ambientación tensa y estridente de la guitarra. El buen hacer de Joe Martin y del jovencísimo y novel Ted Poor a la batería están presentes en toda la grabación. Son pocos los momentos en los que pasan del segundo plano musical al primer plano para desarrollar solos (nos tropezamos con un solo de batería en Trip). Pero como suele ocurrir, el terreno sobre el que pisan los instrumentos solistas suele estar allanado por la generosidad de la sección rítmica.

Esta nueva entrega de Fresh Sound New Talent es un disco agradable, fácil de escuchar para los oídos aún no encallecidos, pero con multitud de recovecos y detalles para aquéllos exigentes, y con una de las guitarras más depuradas que he escuchado en bastante tiempo."
- Sergio Masferrer,


10,95 €  (tax incl.)

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