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Kriss, Itai: The Shark

Itai Kriss is a fabulous young flutist born and raised in Israel and now living in New York. While he has played on many albums The Shark is his first solo release and a good one it is. The core of the band besides Kriss is Aaron Goldberg (piano), Omer Avital (bass) and Eric McPherson (drums). Rounding out the line-up are guest musicians Avishai Cohen (trumpet) and John Ellis (tenor saxophone) who contribute on a couple of tracks.

The Shark has a certain Latin flair as well as hints of the Caribbean and Middle East. It is an exotic sound led by Kriss' incredible skill on the flute. His playing is imaginative, complex and at times completely wild and I mean that in a good way.

Middle Eastern tinges come to the forefront in the album opening title track. Expansive piano notes takes a turn towards the complex as the instrument is fully realized while still retaining the song's melodic sensibility.

In the exotic sounding "Gypsy", a softer, melancholic tone precedes a quickening pace with Eastern underpinnings. The title says it all as this has a real 'gypsy' flair.

Again the title reveals the mood of the piece with the breezy "Breeza", having a Caribbean feel while "Danzon no. 1" is a tangoesque offering with a nice melody and a few stop/starts along the way, veering in different directions all the while maintaining that Latin vibe.

One of the most complex tunes is "Sketch For Toki" with shred-like piano and wild flute meanderings bordering on the chaotic with the rhythm section pushing the rest of the band to keep up the pace.

The Shark is an adventurous debut and a promising start to what should be a long and fruitful career in the world of jazz. Well done Mr. Kriss.

Track Listing:
1. The Shark (7:31)
2. Kamuvan (5:28)
3. Gypsy (7:06)
4. Four by Four (7:47)
5. Chang Chang (5:22)
6. Breeza (6:50)
7. Danzon no. 1 (4:35)
8. Sketch For Toki (4:21)
9. Booty Call (8:32)

Added: September 5th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 909
Language: english

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