5 Hearts: Israeli jazz plays an unexpected trump card with young and fun trio

Shalosh is an Israeli jazz trio with bids to the big world. FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS

In Israeli jazz, an unexpected trump card plays out in the form of the all-young trio Shalosh and their engaging third album, 'Onwards & Upwards'.

'Shalosh' means three in Hebrew, and the trio based in Tel Aviv consists of pianist Gadi Stern, bassist David Michaeli and drummer Matan Assayag. The fact that Tel Aviv is the modern heartbeat of Israel is not in doubt when you hear the vibrant trio unfold. •


The album is recorded in Gothenburg, and the Swedish framework seems anything but random. The trio's combination of fusion and folklore on a solid and resilient bottom of Gadi Stern's clear and easy-lined piano points to Esbjörn Svensson Trio as inspiration. The fact that EST as a benchmark goes so far beyond Scandinavia should perhaps not come as a surprise. Another inspiration is the American pianist Ahmad Jamal, who is hailed in 'Tune for Mr. Ahmad Jamal '.

Israel's fierce history and the threat of war as part of the realities of everyday life are put into play with 'After the War'. That love easily becomes a complicated affair in a country where orthodoxy and modernity and several religions live together in very little space, more than hinted at in the dramatically executed fusion number 'The Impossible Love Story of Jackie and Hanan'. Fragrant variant of a-ha classic.

On the whole, in the playful music there is always an undertone of seriousness, reminding that when adults play, it is a decision that must be made despite. But the play is there in the young band when Shalosh jumps upside down in pop music with a funky variant of the Norwegian trio a-ha's pop standard 'Take On Me'. When Matan Assayag releases the inner drum monster, while Stern gently moves away with the melody line, the Norwegian pop classic comes in human hands.

Eventually, 'Take On Me' rises on ascension - as it does without Morten Harket's famous vocals. On the whole, Shalosh has something with the big, all-embracing feelings that, in the midst of cool blues, separate them from most jazz musicians. It is no coincidence that Richard Rodgers' 'You'll Never Walk Alone', who has been adopted as the famous singer of Liverpool FC's supporters, is the album's second cover number.

On the whole, Shalosh has something with the big, all-embracing emotions which, in the midst of cool blues, distinguishes them from most jazz musicians.

Thus, it makes sense that the termination and title number culminates in a rising emotional staircase, which suddenly ends with an instrumental step into the empty air. The instruments are silent and only the choir is left with an uplifting and serious communion. A kind of solemn consolation or oath. It is right on the edge of corny, but the feeling carries through - as it does all the way through this emotional, melodic and beautiful young jazz trio from Israel.