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March 14, 2012

OutNow Recordings creates a great first impression.


Calling Brooklyn its home, OutNow Recordings is producing some seriously good avant-garde music by a solid crew of Jewish musicians. Jewish tradition, and even Klezmer music, has always had a strong influence on Jazz. In fact, the 2011 Portland Jazz Festival presented this connection as its theme. I must admit, beside's musicians like John Zorn and Perry Robinson, it is a part of Jazz that I am not overly familiar with. But luckily with Spotify it isn't too difficult to get exposed.

OutNow Recordings is the muses of Yoni Kretzmer, Yair Yona, and Ido Bukelman. Out of the initial six releases from this crew they maintain the Jazz medium while straying off with world music and even rock influences. I am particularly hip to Yoni Kretzmer's group Tel Aviv with their album Overlook. Employing many riffs and jaunting rhythms that remind me of the noise rock I used to enjoy in my youthful days (and still do), the drums swing, the the deep tones of the tenor sax and bass clarinet moan with intensity, and the rhythm is constantly flowing. There are faster tempoed pieces alongside ballads that turn into colorful expressions.

Ido Bukelman's Cracked Song pulls from many influences. I can't help but think of Joe Morris and Michael Gregory Jackson. The music is quite textured and overall an interesting listen. There are different stylings through each track with a mixture of acoustic and electric pieces. Bukelman also has a release entitled Solo, which is what it implies. Primarily acoustic, Bukelman creates the same obscure music with unique and interested tones not typically heard on a Martin guitar.

In their fist studio session, Electric Free Trio (EFT) features Ido Bukelman again with the inclusion of Daniel Davidovsky (electrics) and Ofer Bymel (drums). Pulling from free jazz and rock, this improvising trio really showcases the power of in-the-moment creation.

On the album East of Jaffa, Ehran Elisha (drums), Harold Rubin (clarinet), and Haim Elisha (piano) join forces for a session of improvised music. Father and son duo, Haim and Ehran Elisha, work with clarinetist Harold Rubin to create a unique sound. With the lack of a bassist and classical influenced piano playing, William Parker's Clarinet Trio seems like the opposite spectrum to this clarinet trio. Quite melodic and containing Eastern influences, patience is required by those listening who are then rewarded with a rich listening experience.

Ehran Elisha returns with a duo recording alongside Roy Campbell on trumpets, flute, and percussion. A dynamic and complex record, Watching Cartoons With Eddie is a real treat to listen to. These are players that can cook, react to each other, and show their venerated statuses at the same time. The album pays tribute to Jazz masters of history's past. With titles like "For BD" (Bill Dixon) and "The Dizzy Roach", even the title track is homage to Ed Blackwell. Which contains trumpet playing reminiscent of Don Cherry and a generous drum solo by Elisha.

This is forward looking, contemporary Jazz. A testament to improvised music, and proof that neither Jazz, nor Avant-Garde Jazz are dead. Be sure to stay up on OutNow Recordings as they have much more in the works. An Albert Beger release is slated for next month. Follow their Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr accounts for updates.

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