Saxman Greg Wall is probably best known for his association with Frank London, especially as co-leader of Hasidic New Wave, a rocking avant klezmer unit. Later Prophets, Wall's Tzadik debut, still uses Jewish music as a jumping-off point, but with the reedman working (mostly) with a trio, the music has a much different character. Later Prophets is a concept album of sorts, two traditional tunes and a batch of originals, revolving around the story of Ezekiel. There is no direct narrative, but even those only casually acquainted with the story of Ezekiel (he saw the wheel way up in the middle of the air, remember?) will be able to connect the dots, mostly through the outer space tones and playing of keyboardist Shai Bachar, who seems to be channelling Sun Ra through Anthony Coleman. Wall's got great tone on tenor (and a bit of clarinet), and he moves deftly from klezmer-inspired playing through free jazz territory. Aaron Alexander is the type of drummer you might not really notice; he only really asserts himself on one cut, but his playing is consistently understated and in the pocket, coloring the tunes beautifully. Guitarist Gary Lucas joins on a couple tunes, adding more space effects and otherworldliness with his arsenal of effects and delays. This trio has a wonderful, unique sound with its sax/keyboards/drums lineup, much of that owing to Bachar's playing and use of effects. It's a little bit strange, but totally approachable. Mark this as another success in the Radical Jewish Culture series.
Later Prophets Review
by Sean Westergaard