While taking a break from his brother John Lurie's Lounge Lizards, Evan Lurie created a masterpiece of modern chamber music, focusing on the rich, passionate bandoneon playing of Alfredo Pedernera. Classically influenced with tango and waltz rhythms interspersed, the beautiful pieces that make up Selling Water by the Side of the River are quite reminiscent of Italian movie music. The recapitulation of themes throughout, along with Jill Jaffe's almost weeping violin, make it seem as if it really were the soundtrack to a classic European film. The interplay between Pedernera and Jaffe is matched only by Marc Ribot's stunning, melodious performance on classical nylon string guitar -- a side of Ribot not often heard. Lurie himself lays the rhythmic and melodic foundation with his distinct piano playing, but the real focus is on the compositions. The tracks are like short vignettes, which are individually engaging, but as a cohesive album, they're absolutely breathtaking.
AllMusic Review by Matthew Carlin