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Gal Ziv: The Flow

The proper strains of Emmanuelle Somer’s oboe on the CD-opening cover of a Shostakovich string piece seem to announce an album of neoclassical austerity on Gal Ziv’s latest recording, The Flow (Cadence CJR 1125; 66:55). The album foils that expectation right away, however, as the tune quickly breaks into a healthy swing. The very next tune, Ziv’s ballad “Lorien,” featuring a sanguine Don Braden on tenor, settles the debate quickly. The Shostakovich wasn’t a feint so much as a sign of the delicate music to follow. The guitarist plays sparingly and deliberately, with an open tone and a very light touch. Ziv’s group, with Joris Teepe on bass and Vito Lesczak on drums, follows his lead, playing with a decided swing and touches of blues, but in an airy, spacious way, not entirely unlike a drumified Jimmy Giuffre 3. Ziv even imports a bit of twang on “Drawing on a Foggy Window.” Braden’s extroverted tenor sits surprisingly well in this context and makes a terrific contrast.

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