Less can be more. The Israeli jazz pianist Yonathan Avishai refers to this wisdom in notes and believes that it helps him to increase his expressiveness. He is by no means alone with this opinion. Duke Ellington's piano style, which can justifiably be described as expressive, is also characterized by an absolute minimum of notes. So, it's no wonder that Yonathan Avishai chose the long-running hit "Mood Indigo" by the old master Ellington as the opening piece of his debut album, into which he enters hesitantly with a minimum of notes and only in the course of time lets the musical flow swell with more notes to finally turn the Ellington piece into an Avishai piece by violent modification of the original. On initial minimalism in "Mood Indigo" in the reading of Yonathan Avishai, the bassist Yoni Zelnik and the drummer Donald Kontomanou act pronouncedly independently in the further course of the piece and together with the pianist are responsible for the transformation of the original. In "Song for Anny" the pianist introduces with a detailed solo almost free of any rhythm and just as few notes as necessary for the development of an expressive mood. Together with his two trio partners, Yonathan Avishai then continues the song in a sunny, bright mood, rhythmically alive, without bringing too many notes into play. Duke Ellington sends his greetings. Yonathan Avishai also carefully stalks the next piece "Tango" in an extended solo before the tango ignites with its typical rhythm, imaginatively alienated even without the use of bass and drums. Masterly. After a detailed piano solo, the whole trio opens "Joy", bursting with good mood. Sparse piano chords provide timbres reminiscent of Claude Debussy and guarantee the continuation of the motto "less can be more". "Shir Boker" proves to be a quiet ballad walking along with just enough notes to keep the tension alive. After this piece dedicated more to relaxation and contemplation one enjoys the cheerfully swinging "Lya", which increasingly picks up speed and conveys pure joie de vivre. The structure of "When Things Fall Apart" ties in with the structure of the Duke Ellington piece opening the album with a hesitant beginning and complete transformation in the further course. African rhythms and melodies hint at the unusual songwriting qualities of pianist Yonathan Avishai, who is responsible for the entire content of Joys And Solitudes except for the Ellington piece. The last piece of the album "Les Pianos De Brazzaville" transports positive energy from the musical Congo to the Western world in a sophisticated and abundant way so that the listener thereafter is happy in his everyday world.
Yonathan Avishai and his trio impressively demonstrate with their debut album on the label ECM Joys And Solitudes that nowadays jazz not only has to pursue revolutionary new approaches in order to arouse the interest of listeners, but that it can also come along close to tradition as long as the traditional offer is presented fresh and innovative.
Yonatan Avishai, piano
Yoni Zelnik, bass
Donald Kontomanou, drums