Ari Erev ‘Flow’ (Private Press) 3/5

ari-erevThis is the third album release by Tel Aviv based pianist Ari Erev, and it introduces a new set of original tunes that expand on his taste for lyricism with a Hispanic accent. Inspired at first by virtuosic Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Erev’s music draws on the influences of Spanish, Caribbean, Mexican and South American musical legacies. Joining the pianist for this outing are Eli Magen on double bass, Ron Almog on drums, Gilad Dobrecky on percussion, with the addition of Yuval Cohen on soprano saxophone, featuring on five of the tracks.
The album as a whole has a very gentle feel to it, with Elev exploring the lyrically engaging themes with an expressive touch throughout. The title track “Flow”, was the first song Erev penned for this project. The lovely opening intro leads into a warm, joyful melody that the pianist expands upon with the percussive-led band combining nicely as the tune develops. Whilst “Playful Moments” is more of a straight-ahead Latin-Jazz tune, featuring Yuval Cohen’s expressive soprano sax, “July Again”, one of my favourite tracks on the album, focusses more on Erev’s stylish piano playing. This is a thoughtful and lovingly written piece of music, the tune itself having been composed by Erev as a tribute to his deceased friend and bassist Udi Kasmirski. A talkative bass line opens “Inner Story”. The melodic nature of the tune shines through, with Erev’s touch and style sitting comfortably somewhere between classical and jazz, all making for easy listening, but certainly not without some intuitive flurries and clever conceptualisation. The romantic feel to the music continues with “What The Heart Sees”, a ballad of sorts, featuring an erstwhile and sensitively searching soprano sax from Cohen. The skills of the rhythm section are to the fore on “Continuance”, with Magen’s bass and Almog’s drums both being a key feature, adding depth and beauty to this excellent composition. Imagine Keith Jarrett’s Standards Trio and you might be close to an apt description of “Domingo”, a lovely tune, expertly performed. “Latin Currents” is more upbeat, as one might expect from the song title, allowing for a little more exploration from the band.

“Flow” certainly has a lovely, unassuming flow to it, with all the musicians combining well with deft sensitivity and some nice interplay. A little on the “safe” side for my own personal tastes, but nonetheless a heartwarming set of tunes, lovingly crafted and skilfully performed.

Mike Gates