…Shalosh a trio that are continuing to develop and push the boundaries of their music ever forward.
Gadi Stern (piano & keys); David Michaeli (double bass); Matan Assayag (drums)
Recorded January 15 & March 16-18, 2023
Shalosh, the collective name for the trio which translates as ‘three’ in Hebrew, have once again produced an album of contemporary jazz that transcends the concept of the traditional piano, bass and drums configuration. With Tales of Utopia to deliver a set of tunes in which groove and melody is the axis on which the trio pivot.
The music is shaped and defined by the compositions, but the three friends, they have been playing together as a unit for more than a decade, are able to find the spaces in the tunes to stretch both the rhythmic feel and melodic curve of each tune to the extent that it is often difficult to discern where the composition ends and improvisation begins.
The inherent risk in playing such melodically developed, almost formal and through composed pieces, is that the lyricism takes over to the point that any notion of excitement or a sense of anticipation on the part of the listener is removed.
Shalosh skilfully negotiate any such problems by the sheer empathy that exists between the three musicians to the extent that any risk taking is done so seamlessly that one is aware of the resulting and joyous music without any indication that things could have fallen apart.
The music takes its inspiration from the Old Testament and Homer’s The Odyssey. This unique marriage of Christianity and Greek mythology has enabled the trio to once again develop their music, while remaining true to the group identity that they have patiently worked at over a long period of time.
The trio keep the music interesting using their wonderful knack of writing great melodies, and the solos often crop up unexpectedly so seamlessly do Shalosh work as a single unit. The bass solo that emerges from within the title track is one such moment, a total contrast from the dramatic group interplay of ‘Views of Road in Crimson Red’.
Two lovely ballads feature strongly within the context of the album in ‘King’s Dream Pt. 1’ with the subtle use of Stern’s keyboards and ‘Three Sisters’ in which the pianist weaves an intricate opening statement.
Should things become a little too sedate, Shalosh warm things up with ‘The Advisor’ and from the opening theme statement that morphs into a piece that has a ferocity and drive that catches the listener by surprise, and the exuberant ‘The Market’ sounds a lively place to be.
What promised to be a charming set of compositions is in reality a feast of strong melodies, tight grooves and in Shalosh a trio that are continuing to develop and push the boundaries of their music ever forward.