The Temple of Beautiful

Miri Ben-Ari

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The Temple of Beautiful Review

by Ken Dryden

Israeli jazz violinist Miri Ben-Ari's second CD as a leader is a powerful live date recorded at the Blue Note in New York City. Accompanied by a powerful rhythm section consisting of pianist David Kikoski, bassist Matthew Parrish, and drummer Steve Hass, Ben-Ari is an original on the instrument, displaying the fire of Stuff Smith, the aggressive bop technique of Jean-Luc Ponty in his early years, and the ability to swing like Stephane Grappelli. "Caravan" may have been recorded countless times by others, but the youthful Ben-Ari takes this exotic standard in a new direction. Guest guitarist Ron Afiff is added for a turbocharged romp through Sonny Rollins' "Pent Up House" (a favorite of Grappelli), while her passionate interpretation of Herbie Hancock's modal masterpiece "Maiden Voyage" will also turn heads. Her buoyant treatment of "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" showcases Kikoski with a series of brief breaks by Hass. Her enticing originals include the funky "The Temple of Beautiful," the Latin-flavored blues "Mother Shipton," and the soulful "Give Me Some." Highly recommended.

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