Yuval Amihai (g), Damien Varaillon (b), Gautier Garrigue (d), Hermon Mehari (tp), Amit Friedman (ts)
Bar code: 8427328435512
"Guitarist Yuval Amihai has always loved jazz trios, above all Keith Jarrett’s trio recordings and fellow guitarist Pat Metheny’s first album, the latter inspiring him to take up his instrument. This is Amihai’s third album as a leader and first with the Barcelona-based Fresh Sound label after a pair of self-released albums from 2015 and 2012. He introduces a trio with bassist Damien Varaillon and drummer Gautier Garrigue he formed after his move from Israel to Paris 12 years ago and is joined for three tracks by trumpeter Hermon Mehari and tenor saxophonist Amit Friedman.
Besides the Duke Ellington-Don George title track we find standards like Cole Porter’s “Love For Sale”, Jimmy Van Heusen-Johnny Burke’s “Polka Dots and Moonbeams”, Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart’s “You Are Too Beautiful” and his take on his idol Jarrett’s “So Tender”. In his compositions “Old New Song”, “Eviator” and “Yuli” his dexterous playing is at its most tender and heartfelt. Amihai is fond of the blues, to him “one of the deepest connections between the instrument and jazz music.”
His guitar is at the core of all tracks, while the other instruments support and nourish, except for “Love for Sale”, “Eviatar” and “Yuli” where the trio expands to a quintet with Mehari and Friedman. Both horns take center stage, they alternate, carry the melody together, then take improvisational flights.
The entire album can be considered background music in the best sense of the word, a wonderful soundtrack to accompany a romantic dinner. The music doesn’t show off and force itself on the listener. The masterful melodies, delicate airy phrasing and warm sound are lyrical and timeless. Simplicity and sincerity rule. The earnest emotional tone slowly but surely gets under the listener’s skin.
Amihai has won prestigious awards and jazz competitions in France and Belgium. He recently relocated to New York City. If you have a chance to catch him live, bring a date."
Anna Steegmann (May, 2019)
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