Sam Yahel

Truth And Beauty

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News

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What you've got here are some smart things Generations X jazz musicians have been doing in record studios lately - some of the cream of Generation X in the Sam Yahel Trio's "Truth and Beauty".

The liner notes on "Truth and Beauty" (thank you, John Keats) are by generational valedictorian and pianist Brad Mehldau, who tells us he and Yahel were New York Jazz arrivals together from 1988 to 1990. He admits that while "flexibility is a hallmark of Gen X players a certain healthy malleability, their pastiche offerings were crippled by a lack of sincerity." But Mehldau is quick to assure us that's not what his three friends are up to here, and he's quite right.

Organist Yahel, tenor saxophonist Redman and
drummer Brian Blade play together a lot - in Redman's Electric Band, the collaborative YaYa 3 - and they're nothing if not comfortable together. Put almost any Hammond B-3 player in the middle of players as superb as Redman and Blade and you'd have worthy music, but Mehldau's right about a surprising and weirdly affecting sincerity and lack of irony in Yahel's playing and influence on the proceedings. If Joey De- Francesco is his generation's stabbing, screaming Jimmy Smith, Yahel is his generation's thoughtful Larry Young.






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