Our Beautiful Garden Is Open

Sephardic Tinge

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Our Beautiful Garden Is Open Review

by Thom Jurek

This is the third volume in the Sephardic Tinge saga. Pianist Anthony Coleman, drummer Michael Sarin, and bassist Ben Street have taken a different tack on this outing than on any of their predecessors. While the band's first recording concerned itself with finding parallels and similarities between popular and mutant strains of American music and traditional klezmer and Yiddish song, and Selfhaters willfully explored the darkness of open modal figures and topics like cultural disgrace, "Our Beautiful Garden Is Open" is the most wide-open and focused on their sessions. Most specifically, this is a jazz trio recording that concerns itself with being just that. The interplay between Coleman and his rhythm section is nearly symbiotic, especially in the more spacious and open compositions such as "Like Trees, Like leaves," with its Hebraic folk music subtext and Bill Evans-like intervallic sequencing. And then there's the title track with a chord structure that pits fuses Ran Blake and Dave Burrell. Here the addition of a twinned pair of Yiddish melodies against an open modal syntax with Sarin and Street playing double time against Coleman's augmented repetitions is remarkable. The set closes with the dirge-like Yiddish ballad "Adon Hashlichot"; but that's not all it is. There is an element of Tom Jobim's Brazilian pop in the middle section that calls upon both bossa and samba to articulate the melancholy melody while shifting its mood rhythmically and chromatically. This is the best Sephardic Tinge disc yet.

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