1. Everything Happens
2. If I Should Lose You
4. What Is This Thing Called Love?
5. Call Me Stupid, Ungrateful, Vicious and Insatiable
6. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
7. In The Small Hours
8. Tu Tu Tango
9. April In Paris
10. In Loving Memory Of America
Gilad Atzmon - Saxophones, clarinet
Frank Harrison - Piano, Fender Rhodes
Yaron Stavi - Double bass, electric bass
Asaf Sirkis - Drums
Sigamos String Quartet: Ros Stephen, Emil Chakalov - Violins, Rachel
Robson - Viola, Daisy Vatalaro - Cello
Gilad Atzmon has always been a surprising player, whether
he is coming out with biting humour, fierce political opinions or
equally fierce sax playing. In a sense, this album is just as surprising,
as much of it presents Gilad in an unexpectedly serene mood, accompanied
by a string quartet as well as his usual jazz rhythm section. The
album is a sort of tribute to Charlie Parker and the recordings that
Charlie made with strings, although Parker played with a full string
orchestra, not just a quartet.
Gilad performs April in Paris very much in Charlie
Parker's style. It is a track that he heard on a Parker disc when
Gilad was 17 and about to enlist in the Israeli army. He bought all
the Parker albums he could find and fell in love with the altoist,
with jazz and with America. For a long time Atzmon regarded the USA
as his "promised land", because it was the birthplace of
jazz. Now Gilad is disabused of his idealistic feelings about America,
which "is not exactly a free place any more". But the CD
reflects his former vision of America and the love he once conceived
for it and its music.
This lost love is expressed through some poignant interpretations
of such standards as Everything Happens to Me and I Didn't
Know What Time It Was, with Atzmon's alto sax weaving attractive
improvisations over the background of strings. The five jazz standards
he plays are all on the Charlie Parker With Strings album.
Although he performs these tunes with gentle lyricism,
Gilad hasn't lost his desire to surprise and even shock. The six
numbers he wrote himself have a harder edge than those inspired by
the Parker album. The title-track is a noisy montage of street sounds,
voices and a swirling saxophone. Tutu Tango is hardly a joyful
tango but a rather dismal piece which, even when it adopts a tango
rhythm, sounds threatening rather than blithe. It actually reminds
me a bit of the depressing effect of the film Last Tango in Paris.
Refuge starts with a Middle-Eastern atmosphere with threatening
undertones but turns into a joyful dance to African rhythms. Even
his version of What Is This Thing Called Love? has unsettling
harmonies from the strings, and If I Should Lose You wanders
disturbingly through a military drumbeat and ominous chords from the
piano and strings.
Thus Gilad Atzmon continues to surprise us, with an
album title loaded with irony and a mixture of the upbeat and the
downbeat. But it holds your attention because its conflicting moods
come straight from Gilad's heart. He reminds us that jazz was once
a revolutionary music - and could be again.