Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Roni Ben-Hur Santi DeBriano Our Thing Motema 2012

Roni Ben-Hur helped to reinforce the idea of the importance of a musician or any artist to find their individual voice. Musical frames of reference are inherently unfair.

"Sounds like..." is a phrase that critics should tread lightly around. An artist sounds like his or her self with the level of creativity of their choosing. No where is this better exemplified than with the latest release from Roni Ben-Hur aptly titled Our Thing.

Our Thing is an outgrowth from an annual jazz camp held in France. This incredible international jazz collective features Roni Ben-Hur on guitar (Tunisia via Israel), Santi DeBriano on bass (Panama) and Duduka Da Fonseca on drums (Brazil). The eleven tunes on this release are musical conversations where the global influences of each member makes a seamless transition to the more common form and functionality known in the United States as the improvised music we call jazz. The seven originals included were it not for a working knowledge of the covers from Monk, Jobim, and Irving Berlin, are seemingly standards waiting in the wings.

The ever so subtle reharms of Thelonious Monk's "Green Chimneys" along with Irving Berlin's "Lets Face The Music and Dance" are accomplished more for the sake of the trio format than a self indulgent trip to mangle a perfectly good melody past the point of recognition by even the original artist. The Jobim covers of Fotografia and Ela E Carioca are pure flavor and tied together nicely by Brazilian drummer Duduka Da Fonseca. Ben-Hur's clean articulated lines and phrasing are a pure joy to listen to. There is a forward motion, a lyrical sense of urgency to Ben Hur's playing yet deceptively subtle in approach and feel. Bassist/Composer Santi DeBriano gives a master class in performance on "Afroscopic."

Our Thing while one of the best releases of 2012 can in fact be a critics worst nightmare as it transcends the more traditional jazz idiom with ease into a more globally inspired world view of music in general. This is a beautiful thing...

To find anything negative with this recording would be taking "hyper-critical" to the next level.

Pure magic!

Tracks: Green Chimneys; Milonga For Mami; Our Thing; Fotografia; Afroscopic; Anna's Dance; Isabella; Earl's Key; Suave; Ela E Carioca; Let's Face The Music And Dance.

Personnel: Roni Ben-Hur; Santi DeBriano: bass; Duduka Da Fonseca: drums, percussion.