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Assaf Kehati Quartet | Flowers and Other Stories

AKJazz (2011)
By JON GARELICK  |  July 12, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

Assaf Kehati

The Boston-based Israeli guitarist Assaf Kehati and his quartet know how to straddle the great divide. On the one hand, their performances are built on the bedrock of the leader's melodic lyricism and his taste for folk-type tunes and folk-dance rhythms. On the other, they are deep jazz modernists, with a taste for angular rhythmic and melodic leaps and harmonic exploration. The album opener, "Calling Me Home," is typical, beginning with a pretty verse-chorus tune, but as the solos unfold the form becomes more elastic. Kehati's solo brings the piece to a near stop with its meditative quietude; then it slowly accelerates, gathering thicker and thicker clusters of notes in each line. "Mr. Mario" propels itself with a fast, repetitive triplet rhythm in interlocking staccato phrases by Kehati and Alon Farber's alto sax, the two taking turns riding the fluctuating vamp laid down by bassist Daniel Sapir and drummer Udi Shlomo. Kehati has a rounded, glossy tone that spreads outward in chords like gasoline rainbows on a still pond or sharpens into pointed single-note lines. At their best, these are performances you can get lost in.

ASSAF KEHATI QUARTET feat. DONNY MCCASLIN + BILLY HART | Regattabar, Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge | July 19 @ 7:30 pm | $18 | 617.395.7757

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