Herbie Mann

Eastern European Roots

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The legendary flutist has traversed a lot of unique musical terrain in his lifetime, from Brazilian and Latin to Japanese, jazz, and soul. Yet until now he never explored the deeper roots of his heritage, which his liner notes explain are Eastern European and Jewish. He says that some previous attempts to convey the essence of those beginnings have resulted in dark and heavy "suffering" pieces, but here he finds the joys amidst the pain. He mixes six originals with many traditional songs. "Gypsy Jazz" explores a little mysticism with its steady marching drumbeat, some Middle Eastern percussion elements, and an explosive improvisational conversation between his lively flute and Gil Goldstein's accordion. "Balalaika Love Song" is equally mystical, with the distant mandolin of Geoff Mann echoing a darker flute and acoustic guitar meditation. Geoff Mann composed the lively jig-like "A Dance at the Rise of the Moon," which celebrates life rather than focusing on some of the darker elements of life for the Jews of that region. Essentially, it's a collection of mood swings reflecting various elements that can apply to all cultures. For years, his legacy has been doing that for every culture but his own, and now the journey comes beautifully full circle.

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