ALBUM OF THE WEEK Shalosh, Onwards and Upwards, ACT
I had an over riding sense of déjà vu when hearing Shalosh for the first time. Not only do they inhabit similar terrain to EST certainly on the surface they appear for Onwards and Upwards on the same label as the great piano trio.
But there are as many differences as there are similarities. Certainly the trio push and play with the idea of a piano trio and fold in a wide variety of influences spanning jazz, rock and electronica. But they also go their own way. Formed of pianist Gadi Stern, bass player David Michaeli and drummer Matan Assayag they have been around for a while largely known mainly back home in Israel but now projecting to an international audience via the bigger reach of their new label although their earlier releases have appeared on small international labels already and they have toured widely.
Shalosh bring a sense of drama, heat and engagement to their tunes and the trio manage to carve out a space that has appeal to jazz audiences but can also exist simply as modern sounding rock or whatever inspired instrumental music. I enjoyed what I heard especially when there is a little more depth to the tunes (say ‘Children of the 90s’ or the pick of the album ‘Meditation’) but the pop covers (You’ll Never Walk Alone, Take On Me) left me a little cold. Worth discovering.
1 Pat Metheny: Extraordinary achievements down through the decades whether on world tours with the Pat Metheny Group, recording memorably with David Bowie, in Metheny’s own innovations (for instance the pioneering use of guitar synthesizer and his own “robot” Orchestrion) or with such icons of free music as Ornette Coleman and Derek Bailey and in his interpretations of the music of John Zorn, the Missourian continues a story picked up by Charlie Christian and continued by Wes Montgomery in terms of innovation, new dialects and vocabulary, sheer virtuosity and joy in performance.
2 George Benson: The ultimate communicator.
3 John Scofield: A bluesician at heart.
4 John McLaughlin: Into the mystic: IndoJazz innovator.
5 Carlos Santana: Latin-jazz and adored rock master.
6 Kenny Burrell: Made history with Jimmy Smith.
7 Bill Frisell: Guitar everyman. Americana and freebop distilled.
8 Terje Rypdal: Prog jazz exemplar and icon.
9 Lionel Loueke: Afrojazz innovator.
10 Eivind Aarset: Scandi “futurejazz” innovator.
11 Mary Halvorson: Avant, post-Derek Bailey, icon.
12 Russell Malone: Mainstream accompanist par excellence, especially in a vocals context.
13 Kurt Rosenwinkel: Consummate skill coming out of the heart of jazz. Hugely influential.
14 Julian Lage: Now in his prime: can cover anything.
15 Marc Ribot: From Tom Waits to Albert Ayler. Can do it all.
16 Phil Robson: influential jazz-rock consolidator with Partisans.
17 Mike Stern: Has his own joyful, fearsome, vaulting sound. Signature appeal.
18 Mike Walker: north of England legend. Stylistically unique. Needs to be better known, still.
19 Wolfgang Muthspiel: sublime, elegant, chamber-jazz practitioner and more.
20 Kevin Eubanks: knows how to reach the heart of the matter and communicate. Born to play.