Anat Fort

Peel

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Peel marks the recording debut of Anat Fort, a fine Israeli-born jazz pianist. Her program mixes up solo pieces, trios with bassist Andreas Henze and drummer Heinrich Köbberling, and quartets adding tenor saxophonist Aaron Stewart. Guitarist Dan Nadel comes on board for the penultimate track, an extended piece called "Light Suite," but his presence weighs it down. Fort's tunes incorporate strange harmonic twists, bringing tension to her generally introspective playing; the ballad "Arrivals" is the best example. Another trio tune, "More Than Anything," reveals her strong grasp of dynamics -- the piece begins rubato, settles into a straight-eighth feel, and continues to build as Fort reveals an intensity lurking below her contemplative surface. The two quartet pieces are the quirkiest: "The Dance," a snappy calypso-rock number, finds Fort mining smart intervallic concepts on her solo; "The Bridge" lets each soloist start with an unaccompanied break before the band enters in driving swing time. There are hints of Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea in Fort's concept, but her shrewd originality comes through loud and clear.

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