Assaf Kehati – Naked
Official URL: http://www.assafkehati.com/
They don’t call it Mood Jazz for nothing. Whether my mood is upbeat or downbeat, serious or playful, extroverted or introverted, there are musical choices aplenty to complement, enhance or counteract it on this latest CD by Assaf Kehati Trio called “Naked”.
Assaf Kehati Trio are: Assaf Kehati (Guitar), Ehud Ettun (Bass), Ronen Itzik (Drums).
His compositions are inspired by the daily and trivial, yet wonderful and significant experiences of life: from a winter, snow-laden view of Fenway Park from his apartment porch (A View From My Window), to the mundane but satisfying life of a snail (Sunshine Berale), to a girl seeking love in a land beyond the oceans (The Snow and the Sun), and to a story about the universal character, Mr. Mario that travels the world like a gypsy to places like Africa, the Middle East and the Pyramids in Egypt (Mr.Mario). The third album by Mr. Kehati, “NAKED”, was released in September 2014
In my own words I’ll call it powerful and heartfelt melodic Jazz balladry that provides a plethora of musical depth and feel. Kehati delivers superlative grace behind his instrument accompanied by 2 impressive players within their own right. Expect everything and more via this 9 Track collection. Music has the classic Guitar Jazz edge but also brings in a touch of R&B or Soul Jazz. I found it rather ironic I had never heard of Kehati before. I could easily hear 30% of this CD on the radio. CD slowly moves forward with “Song For Saba” and dynamic “Log Ago and Far Away.” Track 1 is the perfect kickoff statement and will gently take you by the hand and will give you something for your mind, body and soul. Track 1 “Song for Saba” sounds like a moving tribute to me. Others hit hard, taking it up a notch “Beneath the Almond Tree” and “The Horses’ Flight”
Kehati at times reminds me of Lenny Breau, Kenny Burrell, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Lara & Reyes and Al Marconi. All tracks have a particularly foot stomping groove-ability to them that adds firmness and warmth. Melodic background vocals are as clear as a bell and provide effective layers. All songs dish out playing that will make your jaw hit the floor with a dynamic rhythm section underpinned by some terrific fret work from all players involved. One of the closing track “Nathan Bo Rega” almost has a contemplative feel, becoming almost hypnotic in places. One can hear this CD coming full circle, starting off very much as it began. All in it’s a pretty amazing ride for 9 Tracks.
Assaf Kehati Trio are three performers who knows how to write and play a great movement. This CD “Naked” is a very personal and up close musical statement for not just cult followers, but anyone in a relaxing mellow mood, needing or looking to instill a mellower one. While this is music you could work or play to, it’s most suited to mind melding contemplation in a relaxed state of mind and setting. Now isn’t that something we could all use a little more of in our lives right now? Assaf Kehati sets it all too well.
Final Score: 9/10 Stars
– Richard Nohrenberg. Approved by Cyrus Rhodes.