The debut release from Danny Zamir's SATLAH trio features hot, klezmer-influenced jazz originals by the excellent young altoist. With the exception of the traditional "Hasar Hamemuneh," the pieces are all named as (chronologically) numbered poems so that, according to Zamir, the listener can think of whatever they want instead of being influenced toward certain associations by more evocative song titles. With a strong rhythm section of bassist Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz and percussionist Kevin Zubek, SATLAH moves through kicking, upbeat numbers like the opening cut, "The Theme & Poem 16"; terrific grooves with soaring alto (such as "Poem 1" and "Poem 22"); and quiet moments such as "Poem 12B," which also includes bell ringing and sound bites of a synagogue service. Most of these lyrical songs alternate between more traditional-sounding melodies and barely restrained explosiveness in which the fun and structure momentarily give way to brief saxophone freak-outs that quickly move right back into the tune at hand. John Zorn also joins in with his alto during this great installment in Tzadik's Radical Jewish Culture series.
AllMusic Review by Joslyn Layne