Pianist Assaf Gleizner plays with a measured, defined, well trained hand that glides between ethnic atmospherics and an austere classicality. The chief ambiance in Breeza, though, is actually supplied by percussionist Nadav Snir-Zelniker. Drums usually lie beneath all other players but that task is taken here by bassist Koby Hayon…though when the leash slips, watch out! This guy has muscular chops when given his head, which is not done enough here. Whether that's through scripting, deference, or an emphasis on the piano isn't evident, but Hayon's a musician waiting to make his mark, and when he does, there will be no going back. He'll be recognized…and he plays a cool oud too.
The emphasis on pianistics, though, is quite understandable. Gleizner (who also plays guitar and melodica) has much to show, and even this disc isn't quite sufficient to his breadth. There's a lot of Brubeck, Guaraldi, Evans, a hip Ferrante & Teicher (who could themselves be pretty experimental and out-of-genre when they felt like it), and even some of the headier chops of Marcelin Wasilewski throughout Breeza. The climate is always a mid-Eastern one, Arabesqued here, klezmerized there, faintly North Indian in places, and so on. There's plenty of improv all over the place, and the take on Eleanor Rigby is impressive, but, the further one listens, the more one detects that the threesome is only inches from free jazz modalities.
I say that because 1) that's how advanced they are within Breeza's sphere, and 2) their use of spaces and clusterss i unusual. Then the drawing of extrapolations from trad airs and registries shows an almost formalist inclination in that free-er direction. Formalist free jazz? Yes, and that's what's so secondarily enticing here, that hint of the future contained in present efforts. You can hear it slip in and out in Björk's Bachelorette even as Snir-Zeliniker takes a heavy hand and Gleizner grows ever more Romantic. It's just waiting to be set loose. Until it is, this will do quite nicely…but, yeah, I'm kinda drooling to see what the next disc will bring as well.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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