Half Notes: Eugene Marlow's Heritage Ensemble – A Fresh Take (2011)

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Eugene Marlow’s Heritage Ensemble’s follow-up to last year’s Celebrations CD is also its predecessor. Let me explain. Marlow’s first Heritage Ensemble record, Making The Music Our Own (2006) was Marlow’s first stab at making a record of modern, multicultural takes on old Hebraic (Jewish) music. Since that album was recorded, the personnel has changed and the arrangements evolved. Thus, concluded Dr. Marlow, it was time for a fresh take on these tunes and Fresh Take is the result. The musical approach hadn’t evolved perceptibly from last year’s record, however, and if you enjoyed the Ensembles’ adaptation of those songs, chances are very good that you’ll enjoy these adaptations as well. Two standout tunes: “Adon Olam” is the lone song not carried over from Making, and it’s mostly improvisational but stays on its feet; and “Avim Malkeinu” is a schooling from the Puerto Rican New Yorkers Cristian Rivera (percussion) and multi-Grammy nominated Bobby Sanabria.

A Fresh Take, from Marlow’s MEII Enterprises, became available June 14.

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