Half Notes: Rafi Malkiel – Water (2010)

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by S. Victor Aaron

A record that truly lives up to its title, composer, arranger and horn player Rafi Malkiel creates a stew of orchestral klezmer jazz, Latin jazz, classical, and European folk music that is themed around H2O. Throughout every cut, water can be heard as a percussion instrument, being poured, splashed and rained. Malkiel even invented an “aquaphonium,” a hose with a trombone or trumpet mouthpiece and is played underwater. Employing a large ensemble that includes Israeli jazz stars Anat Cohen and her brother Avishai, Water is a sharply conceived and executed album that should quench anyone’s thirst for something fresh and imaginative in ethnic jazz.

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