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Songs of the Metropolis - Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble

8 customer reviews

Price: £13.46 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 Jan. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: World Village UK
  • ASIN: B00A7CP9DE
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,869 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Product Description

Maverick, award-winning saxophonist Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble are back with their new album Songs Of The Metropolis. For the last 12 years the quartet have been touring all over the world, stunning audiences with their firebrand performances packed with drama, pathos, luscious harmonies and wit. Atzmon's latest compositions are a sweeping homage to our great cities, from Moscow to Buenos Aires and beyond. Songs of the Metropolis celebrates Gilad & the Orient House Ensemble s lyrical musicality and demonstrates the strength and depth of their song writing. Each tune is at once reminiscent and hopeful; in a time of great uncertainty and turbulence Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble deliver melodies that provide an anchor to wherever it is that we call home.

BBC Review

Reedsman Gilad Atzmon is renowned for his virtuoso, high-speed, post-bop attack, and also for his equally hyperactive personality. This concept album explores a highly alternative resting ground, where nearly every song is a ballad, and even the occasionally faster-paced tunes emit an aura of relative calm.

Atzmon’s concept is to dedicate his pieces to individual cities, inevitably conjuring an atmosphere of evocative cinematic suggestion. Although this Israeli wit has long resided in London, that’s one of the obvious cities missing from the tracklisting. Instead, Atzmon skirts from Berlin to Buenos Aires, and from Scarborough to Somewhere in Italy.

Some of his followers might find this album frustratingly reflective, but Atzmon should be commended for changing his pace, and opening up his compositional space. It’s an imaginative side-step, and there are already many other Atzmon recordings that capture his fully accelerated soloing skills.

Romantic introversion is at play on Paris, with a clarinet calm that could have passed through the lips of Acker Bilk. There’s a lounge bar easiness, but no blandness on show. Dappled piano and brushed snare and cymbals maximise the mood. All of this dwells within a big ballroom acoustic sound-space.

Tel Aviv has a loping funk feel, with Atzmon wielding a flighty soprano saxophone. A doomy piano chord opens Buenos Aires, sombre and slow as Atzmon exudes his breathy horn purr. The luminous gossamer of Vienna hangs over a delicately traipsing procession. We’re back in that ballroom again...

Scarborough is a variation on Scarborough Fair, doubtless inspired by that town’s jazz festival. Atzmon has pointedly chosen this as an alternative to London. A steady pulse emerges, and this is one of the album’s brisker tracks. It’s followed by the exceedingly melancholic Moscow, one of the album’s most visual pieces. Berlin only warrants two minutes, but it’s the most compressed spurt of all, a bierkeller sing-along, spiralling almost out of control. This is just a glimpse of the usual Atzmon lunatic ebullience.

--Martin Longley

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. D. K. Ogston on 27 Jan. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Jazz Fans I appeal to you all, if you have yet to travel the world according to Gilad Atzmon, I suggest you book your CD and sit back and be taken on a musical journey...

The Journey started off many years ago now, with his first album with the Orient House Ensemble, and many albums later he is still giving the listener music to fill your soul with joy, and sadness at the same time.

This album is full of the Classic Atzmon sounds that we as jazz fans have become to know and love. His use of Phrygian Modes I would have to say is the best controlled of any Sax Man on the Planet, and there are many to chose from. Gilad for me is up with the greats in the world of Jazz and I have seen a few. The likes of Courtney Pine at full flow, Tommy Smith at his majestic best, and I would also rate Gilad in the same sphere as Coltrane for the amount of passion you get in his playing.

For me Gilad is one of those unique of Jazz Men that can also put humour in his playing, and it does not sound out of place with the serious Jazz on this, or any of his previous albums.

The Atmzon for me is one of the best out there, and I would suggest that you get to see him LIVE, as he is not only a great musician, but his concerts are famous for being funny with serious moments. And the warmth of the man and his band shine through, and it has been a pleasure to see him several times and witness greatness.

Please take my advice, buy this CD and then get the others.

Then go and see him LIVE!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Oct. 2014
Format: Audio CD
This 2013 album finds the great 'adopted Brit’ Gilad Atzmon and his latest quartet incarnation – Frank Harrsion on keyboards, Yaron Stavi on double bass and Eddie Hick on drums – sounding at the top of their game as they interpret nine Atzmon compositions, each focusing on a different global metropolis. These 'songs’ provide a vibrant, variable mood mix of the ‘spiritual resistance’ (in Atzmon’s words) represented by each 'city’ and showcasing the diversity of, and the influences enshrined in, the man’s compositional skills.

An authentic mood is immediately created on album opener Paris on which, for such an understated and beautiful piece of music, redolent of the romanticism of the city, Atzmon turns in something of a virtuoso performance with (if I’m not mistaken) stunning playing on each of clarinet, accordion and soprano sax. And Frank Harrison’s piano playing here is a restrained foretaste of what is an outstanding contribution by the keyboards man to this Atzmon outing. Tel Aviv features a typically, vibrant soprano melody before switching into a more ambivalent – often sombre and yearning – mood, more in keeping with Atzmon’s 'tragic’ label for the piece (and city).

At the most 'commercial’ end of the sounds here (I would say) are the pairing of the 'sweet’ Vienna (featuring more delightful Harrison ivory tinkling) and the infectious rhythm of Manhattan – a tune which finds the band at their most 'jazz-funk like’, with Atzmon sounding like a 'hyper’ Wilton Felder. Similarly, his 'anonymous’ Italian city – whose light, dreamy qualities suggest to me probably southern, rather than northern, Italy – is another tune of immediate appeal.
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By Carl Freeman on 16 Mar. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a relative latecomer to jazz, I have only begun to appreciate this form of music in recent years, and I had already acquired a three of Gilad Atzmon albums (including the rich musical collaboration with Robert Wyatt and Ros Stephen, For the Ghosts Within) before I ordered this one. Knowing some of his back catalogue, I anticipated that this would also be "rather good". Rather good is of course a complete understatement. The compositions on this album are all sublime with the culture essence of the various locations featured on the album exuding from every note and the musicianship throughout is first class. As others have already commented, there is no padding on this album. Every track is a gem.

I guess my personal favourite has to be Scarborough. That classic English folk tune which until now, I could not have imagined being improved upon any more than when it was recorded by Simon and Garfunkel. My opinion has now changed. Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble have created a stunning interpretation of the piece which again, as another reviewer has indicted, is even better live. It has early quiet moments evoking a dreamy English idyll but then builds up into a soaring tour de force of frenetic energy before finally returning to a state of serenity.

Moscow, as one might imagine is a serious and sombre composition, and Paris is full of romance and that certain je ne sais quoi. Berlin transports the listener to a lively bier-keller where the cabaret is in full swing and the mood....jovial. Tel Aviv and Buenos Aires...well they are hot as you might imagine with the South American capital offering more than a passing nod to Gershwin's Summertime and I am sure that George would have been flattered.
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