Kobi Arad

Revadim (Realms, Dimensions)

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Revadim is an album loaded with eclectic symbols and references: Israelite and Indian spirituality, classical and jazz music, composition and improvisation. Attempting to bring them all together is pianist Kobi Arad. This is basically soft jazz, mellow dinner-by-candlelight music, although his conception of harmony and soloing move a few steps away from easy listening. Most of the 14 pieces are identified as "improvisations" (as opposed to compositions), which on a Sachimay record would normally translate to free improvisation. Instead, Arad's approach to improvisation remains framed by the song format, so does guitarist Roy Raz quietly accompanying him in six pieces. Bassist Sassi Mizrachi and drummer Assaf Sirkis join in for the last number, "Believing," the most straightforward easy jazz piece in this set. Elsewhere, the serenity in Arad's playing often threatens to cross over to new age instrumental music, but an unusual development of the melody here, unexpected chord changes there shift the momentum almost imperceptibly. It makes his rendition of "Autumn Leaves" all the more surprising. Here his playing becomes overloaded with ornamentations. By trying to bring something original to the tune he only manages to masquerade it. He does a better job with the renamed "In a Mystic Mood" and the "Improvisation on a Choral of Bach." If you get this CD for the right reasons it will provide a pleasant hour of smooth jazzy meditation.

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