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Beyond Babylon

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Album Review

On his second album fronting his band Sadawi, trumpeter and composer Paul Brody continues his work in the avant-klezmer trenches, helping to drag that hundred-year-old music kicking and screaming into the 21st century. On Beyond Babylon he shows his unwillingness to be constrained by any ghetto boundaries, opening the album with an extended deconstruction of the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts" (which features a hair-raisingly skronky banjo solo by Brandon Seabrook), and making use of elements of both dub (on the contemplative and lovely "Timepeace"), and rock (note the guitar parts on "Fragment of Kafka's Friend") as well as lots and lots of modern jazz. Most of the album is thrilling; Brody's take on the David Krakauer composition "Klezmer à la Bechet" is a joyful romp in five/four meter, "Glass Dance" is a masterful chamber jazz excursion featuring guest Alan Bern on melodica; Brody's own "An Eye for a You" struts out like a brazen shtetl girl daring someone to dance with her. Only the scattershot and static "Masks and Faces" fails to impress. Highly recommended overall.

Beyond Babylon, Paul Brody's Sadawi
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