ASSAF KEHATI QUARTET — FLOWERS AND OTHER STORIES

CD REVIEW

Assaf Kehati Quartet

Assaf Kehati guitar, Alon Farber saxophone, Daniel Sapir bass, Udi Shlomo drums

3 + stars

This is the second album — after A View from My Window — for Israeli-born guitarist Kehati, who has lived in Boston, US, since moving there in 2007 to study at the New England Conservatory. In all seven of his compositions he plays with dexterity, restraint and subtlety in a well balanced quartet with a relaxed, ruminative and at times dreamy disposition.

Kehati’s musings call to mind Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny, combining well with Farber’s drifting notes in the opening Calling Me Home and engaging in some pleasing interplay in Mr Mario, which also features nimble guitar over agile drum work. The slow ballad Tali features Farber’s sax floating and dancing on high.

The longest piece, The Most Beautiful Flower, has unhurried bass and drums working well with guitar before a gradual build in tempo, focus and intensity in which a Farber solo then gives way to sparse guitar before a segue into the dreamy, expansive horizon music of The Snow and the Sun.

Don’t Attack seems to be warding off an onslaught that never arises, this track showing some gain and wane in intensity, but mainly confirming the ensemble’s complimentarity. The album closes with subdued guitar in Invisible Green.

Rather than the devil being in the detail of this album, its intricacy and minutiae are its strengths. If there is a devil, it is in a lack of contrast between the compositions. Kehati’s quartet delivers his material well, communicating with care a mood of gentle introspection that seems to suit contemplation, daydreaming or reverie.

But it is tempting to wish that the ensemble would break out via different compositions or that the guitar and sax would let forth an occasional storm to tell disparate stories or blow some flowers off their stalks.

ROGER MITCHELL

File between: Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny

Download: Don’t Attack

Assaf Kehati’s website

Kehati’s albums on cdbaby

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