Socialist Worker

Gilad Atzmon: taking refuge in the music

by Nick Taylor
Issue No. 2072

The saxophonist Gilad Atzmon is part of a new wave of jazz artists creating exciting music in Britain. His new album Refuge is a tour de force – a work of beauty, subtlety and depth.

Like the musical equivalent of a magpie, Gilad collects and absorbs a wide variety of styles, out of which he fashions something fresh and unique.

Gilad is fortunate enough to work with a group of extremely talented musicians. Check out Asaf Sirkis’s wonderful polyrhythmic drumming, Yaron Stavi’s haunting bowed bass and Frank Harrison’s tender and delicate piano playing.

Politics continues to drive Atzmon’s music forward. Take the melancholic and wistful “Autumn In Baghdad” – is it a cry of despair at a city under brutal occupation? Or does it allude to a less murderous time when Baghdad was the birthplace of modern civilisation?

“The Burning Bush” uses Arabic chants, Gilad’s driving saxophone and distorted electronic effects to paint a picture of Iraq in flames.

But this is not just an album of anger and indignation. Tracks like “In The Small Hours” are joyous and life affirming ballads, while “Her Tears” is achingly painful.

If you have seen Gilad and his band in concert you would have witnessed a musician full of fire and fury. Refuge is also intricate and moving, a triumph in all respects.

Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble
CD out now on Enja Records

See Gilad Atzmon live in concert – go to »

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Tue 9 Oct 2007, 18:07 BST
Issue No. 2072
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