Wednesday, March 6, 2013

In review--World at Your Feet

Gilad Atzmon & Orient House Ensemble
Songs for the Metropolis
World Village

The last album I reviewed by saxophonist Gilad Atzmon and his Orient House Ensemble revisited cabaret-style jazz.  However, on this round, the quartet sticks with American-style jazz which the musicians graft onto impressions of metropolises from around the globe, including the chic destinations of Paris, Manhattan, Buenos Aries, and so on.  Songs of the Metropolis opens with Paris which features a conversation between sweet piano and a soft saxophone.  The rambunctious Tel Aviv follows allowing the musicians to have a bit of fun.

The musicians tone it down for a sulky visit to Buenos Aries and the saxophone appears to shed tears.  Here we imagine unrequited love, tango dancers abandoned, alone on the dance floor.  We could expect the late tango master Astor Piazzolla to show up with his bandoneon.  And although this track drips with exquisite perspiration, the musicians don’t break into a tango.  On the other hand, Vienna features a glockenspiel and sends us waltzing across the floor.  I expected them to break into an improvisation of My Favorite Things, ala John Coltrane.  However, on Scarborough the musicians treat us to strains of the famous folk tune Simon and Garfunkle made famous.  Rounding off the cities, we musically travel to Manhattan, Moscow, Berlin, and somewhere in Italy.  What fun!

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