Shalosh – Tales Of Utopia (ENG review)

ACT – Street Date September 29th 2023

In 2019, I already spoke to you about this Israeli jazz trio Shalosh that had captured my admiration with the album “Onwards & Upwards”. This time, they are making a comeback on September 29th with “Tales Of Utopia,” a work that reflects the turmoil of a world shaken by wars and various threats. Shalosh has matured, emphasizing the melodic lines, and “Tales Of Utopia” emerges as a gem, undoubtedly the most accomplished and significant album of the group. It’s no coincidence that it’s signed under the magnificent German label, ACT.
With “Tales Of Utopia,” the trio can now be considered one of the most important and imposing groups on the label. While their compositions are quite distinct from the group E.S.T., which dissolved after the death of its pianist, Shalosh offers equally rich compositions and a complete mastery of the art of the trio. Their influences, though diverse, are perfectly embraced. Things could have continued as before, but much has changed since “Broken Balance” in 2020. “It’s a different world now,” says Gadi Stern. “And you can hear it on the new album. Back then, everything was fine, there was more or less nothing missing. But now, there’s a sense of the end of the world all around us.” Thus, on “Tales of Utopia,” Shalosh has taken their music, their way of storytelling through sound, and placed them in a broader context. Drawing elements from the Old Testament and the Odyssey, they combine Christian and Greek mythology in an individual, almost rhapsodic manner. The interplay of world cultures provides a common thread throughout the album.
The beauty of Shalosh’s melodies elicits admiration, sharing, tolerance, and a sense of journey and tranquility. This group is deeply immersed in an intellectual pursuit, a thought format that is strongly felt in their music. It’s a pleasure to hear Gadi Stern on the piano, delicately using overwhelming power when the track demands it, expertly wielding the art of melody. David Michaeli is equally impressive in his dialogues with his double bass, and from my perspective, Matan Assayag, one of the best contemporary drummers, is simply marvelous on each track. A group of this caliber is poised to enter the history of jazz and music.
“Tales Of Utopia” is one of the standout albums of the season, releasing just a few days after another exceptional album of this season, Céline Bonacina’s. If the summer was hot in terms of temperatures, it will be exquisite in terms of the very high quality of these works. It’s unfortunate that the upcoming concerts are limited to Europe and Israel; it would be wonderful to hear them in the USA as well.
Do I even need to tell you in which category this essential album is classified by the editors of Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move?

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, August 28th 2023


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