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Eldad Tarmu: Aluminum Forest

The vibes become a musical paint box on Eldad Tarmu’s disarmingly original Aluminum Forest (Pipe Dream/Chartmaker Jazz PDP 1090; 52:12). Tarmu and a great mix of musicians (most notably Tamir Handleman on piano) use unusual instrumental combinations to take a fresh look at an array of traditional jazz formats-from the minimalist, smoky ballad (“Hold That Thought”, featuring Sue Raney’s embracing vocal) to a rolling, swinging jazz combo feel (the walking “Set in Motion”). As the lead voice, Tarmu’s vibes speak in unexpected phrases and dynamics for tunes like the furious-paced “Morocco Rocco,” where the ringing instrument wigs out atop a retro-Latin, bright horn section. “Lovers and Liars” explores a bebop-era blue club ballad, rendered even more bittersweet by Tarmu’s resonant work, as well as the trumpet play of Dan Bagasad. Also among the album’s many highlights are “Jonah,” a magical music box-meets-Brazilian feel piece, and the album’s expertly orchestrated, atmospheric title track. Handleman’s quiet pianoscape is set off dramatically by sparkling vibes and a moody woodwind section, creating the feel of a winter scene that evokes both lighthearted and melancholy moods.

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