This is yet another abstract jazz CD that one must thank all the gods and goddesses was executed in trio format because the addition of even one more player would've ruined the odd, fascinating, and mercurial idiosyncracies running through the repertoire. On his last CD, Sivan's debut, critics lauded him as "the next guitarist of our times" and someone who would "transform the jazz guitar world" because he's an "intense" cat. He's none of that, is in fact so cool that I'm often reminded, when he's in lay-out mode, of a combination of Chet Baker's singing and Gabor Szabo's playing. When not lyrical and balladic, Rotem's carrying on the far too underpopulated persuasion of aspects of old Coryell, Abercrombie, farside Martino, sideways Metheny, and similar axehandlers, John Stowell included.
Drummer Mark McLean is a very capable drummer, so I went to YouTube to catch some of the trio's live work…and, hoo boy!, can he ever come up with some strange riffs, so much so that you can see Rotem smiling as Mark plays, Sivan wanting to lay down the guitar and just listen to McLean go to it. Haggai Cohen Milo alternates very distinctly between near invisibility and garrulous literacy on contrabass, his opening solo compelling, as is his emphasized participation in the title cut, basically his vehicle.
The convolutions in Emotional are rarely expected even though there's never a truly abrupt shift, always sly and linear but subtle and frequently oblique, no fanfare, just unorthodox thinkery and riffs building new directions until the next alleyway pops up and is traversed, Sefi's Blues a good example. The lengthy Pass It On carries on in similar fashion. Everything these guys do is 'sit down and listen intently' music, and that's not a lightly rendered critical dictum: you lose a lot in the deceptively quiet atmospheres if you're not fully engaged with the sounds. There are plenty of runs and cluster passages, but Sivan's always cool as a cucumber—with just as many airy passages, too, as these guys' chops are of a very different nature, so don't come with preformed expectations.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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