Yitzhak Yedid

Reflections Upon Six Images
between the lines BTLCHR 71215

Although at first Israeli pianist Yitzhak Yedid’s notable six-part composition seems to be part of the so-called Third Stream, this nearly 69-minute suite is more than a supple mix of improvised and notated sounds. Perhaps Fourth Stream would be a more accurate description, since tinctures of Jewish and Arabic sounds from the pianist’s Syrian and Iraqi heritage join jazz and predominately classical inflections here.

Luckily Yedid’s associates reflect both Diasporic and multi musical currents. Violist Galia Hai is in the Israel Contemporary String Quartet, while bassist Ora Boasson Horev, another Israeli, plays baroque and contemporary chamber music. Vancouver-based clarinetist François Houle’s projects have encompassed Free Music with pianist Benoît Delbecq, vernacular jazz with trumpeter Dave Douglas and contemporary sounds with fellow West Coasters.

Textural and episodic the attractively-voiced Six Images evolves in chiaroscuro impressionism, with dramatic shading typically resulting from the pianist’s kinetic cadenzas appearing from both ends of the keyboard, plus studied note ruffling and passages of internal string stopping. Carefully measured, the variations pulse rather than swing, with the others using Yedid’s improvisational strictures to imbue the material with slippery counterpoint. Rondo-like viola flourishes brush up against screeching clarinet split tones, while a bass showcase encompasses pizzicato strumming and col legno jets surmounting morose cello-like interface.

Savage and contrasting dynamics dampen to diminuendo by the finale. At which point the composer’s decision to intermittently interrupt measured cadences with flourishes such as jagged soundboard vibrations and wailing portamento reed breaths, is revealed to be as logical as it is theatrical.

Ken Waxman

CODA Issue 331