A Fresh Take
Pianist Eugene Marlow assembled this flexible quintet to put an Afro-Cuban spin on traditional Hebraic melodies. His key recruits, drummer-musicologist Bobby Sanabria and percussionist Cristian Rivera, provide a churning undercurrent throughout. Saxophonist Michael Hashim adds Middle Eastern touches to the exotic mix while bassist Frank Wagner provides the low-end anchor. Marlow underscores “Hatikva” with an undulating “All Blues” bassline, and “Heine Ma Tov” is given a walking blues treatment that Hashim digs into with gusto on soprano. “Bilbililos” is afforded a new Afro-Cuban groove, “Heiveinu Shalom Aleichem” swings blithely in straight-ahead fashion, and the exuberant closer, “Avinu Malkeinu,” sounds like a Purim party in Havana.