Assif Tsahar

Live at the Fundacio Juan Miro

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Recorded just a couple of months before the premature death of bassist Peter Kowald, the tightly focused group featured on Live at the Fundacio Juan Miro is a fine example of the power-driven sax-led trio immersed in the genre of free improvisation at the turn of the 21st century. Israeli ex-pat Assif Tsahar burns from the get-go with a cavernous momentum and urgency that rarely rests, while Kowald and drummer Sonny Murray egg him on. Tsahar could not ask for better partners and it is a tribute to his first-class musicianship that he not only draws such quality performers to his side but that he clearly performs at an equal level. Regardless of the intensity, Tsahar is not, and does not try to be, a Peter Brotzmann, and Tsahar, while hard-hitting, is capable of exploring the veins and tributaries of the caverns, too, though when he finds what he is looking for he usually pounces with a bombastic air, a hunter catching his prey. Influences as diverse as Ornette Coleman, Elton Dean, David Murray, and, of course, Brotzmann might be noticed, but they tend to be indirect as Tsahar had by the time of this recording developed his own persona. Israel has produced several fine jazz musicians but none with the unmitigated fire of Tsahar, who when he revs up, leaves little standing in his path.

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