Ein Sof

Assif Tsahar

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Ein Sof Review

by Don Snowden

With William Parker and Susie Ibarra as his trio cohorts, Assif Tsahar is keeping major league company on this disc and Ein Sof shows he's up to the challenge. The tenor saxophonist is fond of jumping to Albert Ayler-like cries but he doesn't really develop solos out of those tonal wails like Ayler did. He's probably closer to Charles Gayle's stream of notes pouring forth overall but Tsahar is more measured and economical, allowing the pieces to trail off when the collective energy is exhausted and ideas drained. Ein Sof features half-a-dozen full pieces broken up by six short snippets of "Ephemeral Symbiosis." The latter segments range from hard-charging freedom pulse and ballads to ethereal pieces cued by Parker's bowed bass or Ibarra's percussive clatter, so it's hard to know if it's one continuous piece done cut-up style or short bits of distinct improvisations given the same title. Tsahar hits the ground running with "Is Here Tomorrow Will" while "Through Forgotton Ancestors" starts up more melodic and meditative, with a tart opening theme and freedom pulse feel with Ibarra focused on her percussive click repertoire. "Sun Drops" finds Tsahar blowing almost subliminal harmonics behind Parker's bowed strokes and Ibarra's bells and the more intense, Ayleresque title track returns to exploring the tonal similarity of broad tenor smears against Parker's bowed bottom. "Shadow Puppets" angularly probes a relatively spare rhythm pulse that ebbs and flows in intensity before bleeding into "Internal Dialogue" so smoothly you might mistake it for the same track until the latter's more robust, brawny character comes through. Tsahar goes for his Ayler shriek repertoire with Parker's potent bowed strum and the busy clatter of Ibarra's percussion and trademark light touch -- it always sounds like she's surrounding the center of the music more than establishing it. Ein Sof is a strong debut and one that should appeal to David S. Ware fans, although Tsahar's tone isn't as full and his lines tend to be shorter and more fragmented. But this music passes the fundamental test of collective improvisation -- it takes the listener on a voyage, unfolding organically though swirls and eddies, ebbing and flowing with the inspiration of the improvisers.

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