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Avi Rothbard: Twin Song

Avi Rothbard, born on an Israeli kibbutz but raised for a time in Japan, is now a New Yorker and an articulate player in the soul-jazz organ trio mode. His sophomore release, Twin Song, follows up 2002’s Going Somewhere and again features Jared Gold on organ and Joe Strasser on drums, with tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery sitting in on three cuts. Whereas Rothbard’s debut included several standards, Twin Song is an all-original affair.

“Preach’s Inches” and “Cheerleader” nod to mainstream R&B, while “Minor Impact,” based on Gigi Gryce’s “Minority,” is a boppish number that finds Rothbard in an early Pat Martino bag. “Twin Song” is a brisk waltz with good harmonic twists, “Triad” is a charged swinger featuring Gold at his angular best and “The Password” is an unaccompanied tribute to the late Joe Pass (with an unfortunate fadeout). Rothbard dialogues with Escoffery on the easygoing 5/4 piece “Five Corners,” the samba-based “One & Nine” and the closing slow-cooker “Just a Little Sip.” The writing could be more distinguished, and the guitar tone a bit fuller, but Rothbard has a patient way with a phrase, a confident time feel and solid, tasteful chops.

Originally Published