Anthony Coleman Trio

Sephardic Tinge

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Sephardic Tinge Review

by Marc Gilman

Anthony Coleman's Sephardic Tinge, a trio of New York's finest avant-garde musicians, takes traditional Jewish music and mixes it with doses of straight-ahead jazz, be-bop and Spanish music. (Sephardic is the name given to the Jews who colonized the southern portions of Spain; hence the album's title.) The result is an eclectic amalgam of intensely spiritual and fun music. Coleman recruits Joey Baron and Greg Cohen, the experienced rhythm section of John Zorn's Masada, for this album. Coleman's playing has a unique, minimalistic, angular style reminiscent of Thelonious Monk's later work. But Coleman is also privy to moments of beautiful melodic exploration. Sephardic Tinge presents these opposite sides of Coleman's playing, and they seem to co-exist quite well together. "Belz" is the standout of the album; as explained in the liner notes, it is a traditional Jewish prayer recited before meals and has been passed down as a sung prayer. Coleman's rendition is quite moving. Also incorporated are Jelly Roll Morton's "Bert Williams" and other traditional Sephardic songs. Coleman explains in the notes that he decided to concentrate on Sephardic music because other forms of Jewish music, klezmer specifically, have been greatly distorted throughout time. Sephardic Tinge is an excellent incorporation of traditional, ethnic music combined with an astute downtown New York sensibility.

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