Sam_yahel-searchin_span3
May 1999

Sam Yahel
Searchin'
Naxos Jazz

Is it the later generations that've been calling the organ combo "acid jazz"? Yahel leads a trio with guitar and drums, with tenor and trumpet on four selections, through what I'd still call the Blue Note organ combo sound. And the program, wisely chosen, opens with an obscure Ellington work, "Searchin'," bluesy and very hard bop, with Eric Alexander exerting muscle and authority. By the titles, Yahel seems to have a lady or two in mind with "Never Let Me Go," "A Sleepin' Bee," his own "Hymn For Her," and with the horns a bright and sinuous original "Suspicious Love Affair" and Whiting and Chase's "My Ideal" (why is this one seldom performed?); in fact, on "Suspicious" trumpeter Ryan Kisor tones down his opening fire as if to protect the clandestine. Drummer Joe Strasser's subtleties lend a distinct flavor to the sound, and Peter Bernstein has the perfect guitar texture that makes the late Bill Kitses's spare and minor-keyed "Half Bakes" a real sleeper.

Originally published in May 1999
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