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Pachora: Ast

With its third album, New York’s Pachora continue fine-tuning a spirited fusion of traditional Balkan and Turkish melodies and scales with jazz’s improvisational edge. Ast represents the quartet’s most polished, accessible and integrated effort, as the tricky yet buoyant dance rhythms, Middle Eastern modalities, melodically sophisticated soloing and seamless arrangements coalesce with a grace and finesse that erases the lines between jazz, pop and world music. Skuli Sverrisson, Jim Black, Chris Speed and Brad Shepik are among the most active, stylistically diverse players on the New York scene today-all but Shepik also work in Speed’s excellent quartet with trumpeter Cuong Vu-yet, unlike many similarly-oriented musicians there, they display no hint of smug dilettantism.

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