Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Naftule's Dream, Blood

Today we have a shining beacon in the "Radical Jewish" music realm, as John Zorn so aptly puts it. It is the sextet Naftule's Dream and their very lively new album Blood (Naftule's Dream Recordings 103). What we have is a absorbingly original hybrid of avant jazz composition and improvisation that has a healthy Klezmer-Yiddish-Jewish component and a little of the heft of rock.

The players and their instrumentation form the principal foundation for this musical mix. Glenn Dickson is on clarinet and channels modern and Klezmer elements; Gary Bohan is on cornet and has much to do with the sound color of the ensemble; Michael McLaughlin is a key element on accordion; Andrew Stern gives the ensemble a rock and explorative edge; Jim Gray has a vivid lower presence on tuba; and Eric Rosenthal does a fine job on the drums.

The compositions are intricate and involved and are critical to the sound of the band. McLaughlin contributes five of the nine, Glenn Dickson pens three, Bohan gives us one. The "Jewish Tinge" is pretty much out front throughout, and that combined with a modern small-big band fullness. Add to that an improvisatory edginess, and intermittent helping of rock heaviness and mellifluous compositional prowess and you have a band to reckon with.

It's one of those albums that stays in your mind after a while. The band stands out with a great set! Check this out.

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