Itamar Borochov

Blue Nights

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Israeli-born trumpeter Itamar Borochov plays a cross-pollinated style of jazz that brings together his love of Sephardic Jewish music, Arabic maquam, and richly textured modal post-bop. It's a sound that informed 2014's Outset and 2016's Boomerang, and one he further develops on 2019's atmospherically engaging Blue Nights. As a trumpeter, Borochov has a soft, warm sound that brings to mind the sultry, late-night style of artists like Miles Davis and Chet Baker. In fact, the opening track "Right Now" is just the kind of slow-burn anthem Baker might have recorded in the 1980s. It's a style that grounds much of Blue Nights, as Borochov builds upon this lyricism with songs that grow increasingly kinetic as he weaves in yet more of his Middle-Eastern and African influences. Part of what makes Borochov's multi-dimensional sound so appealing is that he is as much in command of the jazz tradition as he is any of the other ethnic traditions he explores here. The cinematic title track starts with Borochov playing a lilting, sensual theme that builds to a heart-wrenching pitch of skyward trumpet moans. Equally compelling, "Motherlands" has a sparkling piano groove that Borochov accents with the addition of vocals by the Moroccan collective Innov Gnawa. He also evokes the dramatic, minor-key tension of Love Supreme-era John Coltrane on the driving "Daasa!," whose title is a reference to the song's wavelike 7/4 Yemenite dance rhythm. Similarly, "Broken Vessels" combines Coltrane's spiritual jazz with a fusion-rock dynamism, as Borochov's trumpet brushes warmly against sweeping drums and far-eyed piano chords. Elsewhere, as on the buoyant "Garden Dog Sleeps," his fluid lines bring to mind Wynton Marsalis' early-'80s albums. Ultimately, with Blue Nights, Borochov has crafted a perfect balance between dusky jazz you want to cocoon yourself in, and polyrhythmic percussion grooves that pull you toward the horizon.

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