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Tuesday's Blues

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Album Review

An outstanding debut from Israeli-cum-Texan-cum-Oregonian sax player Idit Shner, Tuesday's Blues showcases her take on jazz as a catalyst for innovation on beloved pieces. The majority of the compositions are traditional Israeli works of various stripes, all reworked heavily to embrace the post-bop aesthetic with modern touches — given enough room to grow their own grooves, as it were. Shner takes seeming inspiration from Coltrane and Parker (of course) but there's something else in her sound — a strong devotion to a simple groove, a bump and shake hailing from the old R&B circuits that reworks even her self-penned "blues" number into a shimmying, funky outlet for the band to let loose. The pieces all have the feel of an excellent group of players jamming, meshing together fluidly, and the energy is consistently high. In her sentimental renditions of childhood lullabies ("Elisheva Doll") and even devotional pieces ("Adon Haselichot," a Yom Kippur prayer), there's an intensity and a speed in the instruments' delivery. The quartet never misses a beat, and fills each composition with a full dose of power. It's the solos that really make up the record, though — Stefan Karlsson's extended piano solo in the title track shimmers through the scales like few can pull off without becoming stale, while Shner's solos can twinkle and extend like Coltrane (in "Elisheva Doll") or honk and squawk like (a more reserved) Big Jay McNeely (in "Ha Lachma"). There's a lot to like here, from the masterful arranging of traditional pieces that barely lets on that the pieces have a more restrained history of their own, to the sheer force and skill of the players involved. An excellent outing all around.

Tuesday's Blues, Idit Shner
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 23, 2008

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