Ofer Assaf: Tangible Reality

The powerhouse Israeli tenorman Ofer Assaf brings an aggressively swinging edge to his playing alongside New Yorkers Jim Rotondi on trumpet, bassists Don Pate and Essiet Essiet, drummer Bruce Cox and underrated pianist Theo Hill. They come out of the gate charging hard on Assaf’s uptempo burner “Kingfisher 51,” and the energy level doesn’t let up from there. Whether it’s the majestic Billy Harper tribute “The Archer,” the Michael Brecker tribute “Blues for MB,” or the Trane-inspired “Tame the Wild Beast,” Asaf plays with conviction and clarity while also revealing a breathy ballad touch on “The Nearness of You.” Highly recommended.