At age 27, Yahel is clearly one of the most promising new organists on the New York City & international scene. As a possible walker in Larry Young's shoes, he displays a definite orchestral concept. Sounds seethe and swell, expanding beyond the envelope; he's got that telltale, after-midnight-blue depth of expressionism. Wild drummer Brian Blade and witty guitarist Peter Bernstein give much more than a mere modicum of fuel for Yahel's imagination -- they kick him into fourth and fifth gear during these eight tracks, three written by the organist himself. Two standards appear here. The first, "Never Will I Marry," has Yahel leading the melody while Blade fires up the cauldron with embellished rhythms that run outside of the straight beat, and Bernstein's guitar chords lead to tasty, bluesy solo lines. The second, "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," finds Yahel introducing by himself on this emotion-drenched ballad, charcoal tracing from similar regret-filled themes as "I Remember Clifford" and "Polka Dots & Moonbeams." Slight grease from Bernstein's lead guitar girds Ray Brown's bluesy, soulful sweet classic "Gravy Waltz." The Bernstein-penned "Blues for Bulgaria" has an easy, steady groove with Yahel's organ setting up the guitar's melody and Blade's drums swirling around -- this one has potential at becoming a sprightly standard. Yahel's three compositions include the waltz "The Gambit" marked with varying key changes and Bernstein nicely linking the styles of Wes Montgomery and Grant Green. "Short Returns" is a cool swinger with guitar-organ unison melody -- one of rare quantity on the CD. "And Then Some" is a very fragmented, 7/4 funk groove, -- quite contemporary and virile; it's as compelling as any cut on the disc. Though this is an entry point, it's an intriguing one for Yahel, a thinking man's organist. This album is easily recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos