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World Music CD Reviews New Age & Avant Garde


By Paul-Emile Comeau

Beyond Babylon

Trumpeter-composer Paul Brody and his quintet Sadawi play avant-klezmer, which is distinctly urban in the way it draws from rock, free jazz and more traditional forms of klezmer. Apart from five original compositions, Brody and his group draw from four works by Frank London, David Krakauer, Glenn Dickson and Ben Goldberg, which Brody then literally re-composed. Besides trumpet, the group's instrumentation includes clarinet, bass, drums, guitar and, on some tracks, banjo and accordion, the latter played by special guest Allan Bern of Brave New World. "A Fragment of Kafka's Friend," which is based on a small section of a Naftule's Dream tune, flirts briefly with mock opera while "Masks And Faces" starts off with intriguing accordion and banjo interplay before settling into chamber jazz ensemble playing. Krakauer's "Klezmer a la Bechet" explores short musical conversations between jazz pioneer Sydney Bechet and klezmer legend Naftule Brandwein. "Golem's Khosidl" starts slowly with a minimalist arrangement but the group gradually injects life into the melody and, presumably, into the golem itself. Beyond Babylon, Sadawi's second album, fuses klezmer and jazz brilliantly.