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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.
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An amazing blend of sounds taking us on a trip around the world. If you like Atzmon you'll love this, if you've not heard of him try him, you're in for a treat.Published 22 months ago by Scott
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I loved the music because the arrangements were original and well chosen. Read more
Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble improve with every album and this is their best. Great tunes particularly Scarborough which 'live' is a real tour de force. Read morePublished on 18 Jun. 2013 by A Clare
Diverse, entertaining and emotional. not since his "with strings" venture has Gilad Atzmon been on such form. Get it now!!Published on 13 April 2013 by Glenn