Yotam Silberstein

Next Page

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When listeners hear that a jazz album prominently features an organist, they often think of soul-jazz. It isn't hard to understand why; Jimmy Smith was a giant, and so many of the organists who emerged in late 1950s and '60s were Smith disciples. But it's important to remember that a lot of 21st century organists -- from Larry Goldings to John Medeski to Barbara Dennerlein -- have favored a post-Smith perspective. And on Next Page, Israeli guitarist Yotam Silberstein doesn't get into soul-jazz at all even though he features an organist throughout the album. The organist is Sam Yahel, who has acknowledged Jimmy Smith's funkiness on some of his recordings but is stylistically closer to Larry Young (the first jazz organist who truly brought a post-Smith approach to the Hammond B-3). Yahel's presence is a definite advantage for Silberstein on this 2008 recording, which employs Willie Jones III on drums and features tenor saxophonist Chris Cheek on some of the tracks. Silberstein obviously wasn't looking for an organist who would stick to the Smith/Jack McDuff/Richard "Groove" Holmes/Jimmy McGriff view of the organ, and Yahel helps him deliver a guitar/organ date that contains both post-bop and hard bop and never ventures into R&B-ish territory. Silberstein, thankfully, doesn't inundate the listener with beaten-to-death warhorses. Half of the songs are Silberstein originals, and the others range from Charlie Parker's "Cheryl" to Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Ligia" and Israeli composer Matti Caspi's "Ahi Eshtagea." "Cheryl," of course, has been recorded by countless improvisers, but "Ligia" is one of Jobim's lesser-known pieces -- and Caspi's work certainly hasn't been a major focus of jazz instrumentalists. Between Silberstein and Yahel's skillful musicianship and their willingness to take some chances when it comes to choosing material, Next Page is a likable contribution to post-bop and hard bop.

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