on 22 September 2000
This is Gilad Atzmon's second commercial release and is significantly more relaxed than his first - Take It Or Leave It. Atzmon is an up and coming star in the jazz world and his also reached a more commercial audience with his playing for the late Ian Dury (and the Blockheads). This album finds Atzmon returning to his roots to some extent, and is a much more world-music styled recording, yet still very much a top class jazz recording. Gilad has been compared to several of the saxophone greats such as Charlie Parker & John Coltrane. To compare Atzmon to Coltrane is possibly a rather misjudged statement, as although he employs the same technical ability & virtuosity of playing, Atzmon is a master of the creation of catchy, instantly accessible tunes! Highly recommended to anyone who appreciates a top class clarinet or sax player!
I have owned this CD since its release in 2000, and it remains as exciting to listen to now as when I first heard this unique group fourteen years ago. Gilad Atzmon, the leader who plays reeds, arrived in Britain from Israel to study at University of Essex, and has now settled as a British resident and is now a jazz musician in great demand. He is joined by fellow israeli immigrant Asaf Sirkis who must rate as possibly the greatest drummer working in Britain today. The group is completed by two young gifted Brits: Frank Harrison (p) and Oli Hayhurst (b).
The music on this CD, the first by the Orient House Ensemble, is quite "middle eastern". It includes a couple of "eastern Mediterranean" tradition tunes together with three Atzmon "originals". Two tunes, one credited to Miles Davis, and one by Wayne Shorter complete the set of eight.
Some might call this a "World Music" CD but I prefer the jazz category; but does it matter? The album contains very entertaining and engaging music brilliantly executed by four top musicians. Gilad plays soprano sax and clarinet with ingenuity and passion. Frank Harrison has some excellent solo passages, but the album is really music for an integrated quartet.
I recommend this CD without reservation. There are several other OHE CDs all of a very high standard. All recommended.