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CD REVIEW: Assaf Kehati Quartet - Flowers & Other Stories
By Cyrus Rhodes - 03/17/2011 - 12:25 AM EDT

Artist: Band: Assaf Kehati Quartet
Album: Flowers & Other Stories
Label: AK Jazz
Genre: Jazz
Sounds Like: Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Pat Matheny
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Tali, The Snow & The Sun, Mr. Mario
Weakness: Nothing to report
CD Review: Israeli/Bostonian jazz guitarist Assaf Kehati arrived to Boston in 2007 after finishing his jazz studies at prestigious Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music (member of Berklee International Network), Israel. Reading his impressive bio, Assaf has performed with many amazing players over the years & now has 2 albums to his credit. His latest release “flowers & Other Stories” was released in 2011.

The CD gently takes to flight with “Calling me Home” a methodical intro piece that flows &ebbs its way through to musical fruition. This first piece serves up impressive Jazz guitar against a dynamic 4 piece backdrop of drums stand-up bass & saxophone. The CD makes a great first impression & literally grabs our attention with its passionate musical flow & ebb effect. Track 2 “Mr. Mario “keeps things moving in the same direction with more full tilt guitar/saxophone melodies, dynamic rhythms, & hooky bass lines. Track 3 “Tali”: a more marketable piece that serves up easy flowing rhythm section, against mesmerizing saxophone/guitar melody. The CD makes a great first impression, providing 3 solid musical experiences in arrow. Musical textures reminiscent of classic Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, & Pat Matheny. Despite this it’s quite amazing how original AKQ signature is & is something that goes beyond pigeonholing.  As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice most of the songs are very dynamic & passionate in nature, with crystal clear hi end clarity & solid low end feel. The music itself goes down smooth, & fills the sonic space with what I would describe as peaceful tranquility with all the excitement of a live performance. The musicianship though extremely conservative provides a lot of musical variety. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments, showcasing impressive chops, dynamic grooves rich in melody. What’s even more impressive is how well the guitar & saxophone share the sonic space equally. I was entertained the entire time * I can say this is the first jazz quartet I’ve ever heard with roots from Israel. Drummer Udi Shalomo pushes the natural accents well, Saxophonist Alon Farber adds fuel to the fire with his infectious melodies. Bassist Daniel Saphir lays down the bottom end groove with several impressive bass solos to boot. Finally Assaf Kehati’s guitar virtuoso just makes the whole thing work as he provides the perfect balance between strong melodic delivery & sizzling chops. From passionate “The Most Beautiful Flower”  to dynamic “The Snow & the Sun” to heartfelt “Don’t Attack” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with” Invisible Green” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.  

After spending some time with Assaf Kehati Quartet it's hard to find any solid weaknesses worth mentioning. Instead as the CD progressed I became more & more impressed with the production as a whole. Make no bones about it, these cats can play. What I like most about the CD is the hearing jazz from an Isreali quartet. Most people will agree live performances pack a powerful punch & are quite dynamic. Flowers & Other Stories s an impressive musical production from start to finish. There’s not really a weak song on this entire catalog period! The musicianship is first rate, the songs are very dynamic & passionate. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Lastly - the playing, & writing abilities of the Assaf Kehati Quartet are both amazing & will keep you fully entertained with Flowers & Other Stories.

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