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9.9/10 Avi

YEDID, YITZHAK - Suite in Five Movements - CD - Between the Lines - 2008

review by: Avi Shaked

After the breathtaking 2007 release "Reflections Upon Six Images," composer/pianist Yitzhak Yedid continues to thrill with this new recording by an oud / double bass / piano formation.

Much like the instruments with which it is played, this novel piece is all about fragile borderlines: between classical music and jazz, between composed / structured and free / improvised, between European and Middle Eastern, and suggesting both the tension and the communality between religions (in loyalty to the city of Jerusalem, which is cited as an influence).

The structured guidelines throughout this work tinge it with a symphonic flavor, making it both grandiose and memorable. Unison lines are carried out with precision and passion, carrying the listener through tense, exotic scenes and to exciting climaxes.

Unlike other attempts by forward thinking musicians, the free spirited solos and the technique (in both composition and performance) are never out of line here, always fitting the frame and serving as a stepping stone. As an example, Yedid's muted piano percussions are never a drill; they are more of a genuine alarm, as the percussive feature three minutes into the first movement demonstrates: It emerges from one of the unisons, first served with gentle, twiddling oud and then nails the bass upon its entrance, with each player and instrument adding his or her own distinguished timbers to form a harmonic counterpoint.

The above also suggests another notable, prominent quality of this recording the deviations from the written parts, in the form of free playing, make for contrapuntal polyphonies, which remain fresh with every listen. The improvisation actually enriches the composition by adding uncertainty and twists to the compositions, and this is not to be taken lightheadedly; as this achievement indicates a thorough introjection of the compositions by each of the musicians as well as their inventiveness both as individuals and as a creative outfit.

There is not a second of hollow virtuosity on Mikhail Maroun's middle-eastern-scale decorated, yet somewhat grayish and mournful oud playing, on Yedid's adventurous use of the piano (check out the third movement's "A Pianist's Conflict" for his clever assembly of notes in different octaves into an engaging passage) or on Ora Boasson Horev's entrancing, vibrating bass weaving (her arco bass foreboding with somber, chamber echoes, and her delicately disturbing pizzicato). These only rise to the occasion of serving you this lyrical, spellbinding music. (9.9/10)


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