Like Charlie Parker playing Arabic funk in a Weimar cabaret, egged on by The Blockheads.
Kathryn Shackleton 2010
Celebrating ten years of silliness, serious messages and stunning music-making, sax man Gilad Atzmon and The Orient House Ensemble present their seventh album, The Tide Has Changed.
Gilad’s Blockhead colleague Derek Hussey introduces the band against raucous cabaret antics in Dry Fear, which leads into a moody and mesmerising title-track. The image of a shimmering desert rises out of strummed piano strings and Gilad’s altissimo sax notes resolve into fast bebop lines, with his wife Tali’s airy vocals opening up a new astral sound for the band.
Individual voices have always been at the heart of the OHE and pianist Frank Harrison’s quiet introspection continues to hold its own here against Gilad’s boisterous bluster. Frank plays his raindrop-piano lines against the wails from Gilad’s sax and creates something sublime. In London to Gaza the piano is a fragile beauty that gathers so much momentum that Gilad has to play as if his life depends on it.
Young Lions drummer Eddie Hick has a tough challenge to replace master percussionist Asaf Sirkis on this album, but measures up well, playing with power and sensitivity. His military rolls are poignantly matched against Gilad’s woody clarinet and Yaron Stavi’s sweet-sounding bass on And So Have We.
Orchestrating all of this, Gilad continues to nurture the memory of Bird in one breath and be cheekily disruptive in the next. All the Way to Montenegro features the distorted radio sounds used in previous albums, but this time they’re more amusing than disquieting.
The Tide Has Changed sounds like Charlie Parker playing Arabic funk in a Weimar cabaret, egged on by The Blockheads. Roll on the next ten years.