Sam Yahel: Oumou




Sam Yahel (piano)


Hometown (Positone 8048)

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Sam Yahel (piano), Matt Penman (bass), Jochen Rueckert (drums).

Composed by Sam Yahel


Recorded: Brooklyn, NY, October 22, 2007


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

Sam Yahel is best known as the electronic keyboard specialist from Joshua Redman’s Elastic Band. By his own admission, he has always considered himself an organ player, so this track is an interesting example of how he approaches the acoustic piano. “Oumou” is an inspired, rhythmically delicious Yahel composition that is introduced by Penman stating the repeating melody line on the lower register of his instrument. He is soon joined by what sounds like Yahel playing the muted strings of his piano in a delicate pizzicato accompaniment. Undaunted by the lack of electronics, Yahel has found a way to create a texturally interesting effect within the confines of his purely acoustical environment. As the rhythmically swaying tune is allowed to expand over Penman’s throbbing bass, Yahel’s piano improvisations build tension. Ruckert skillfully adds his own brand of subtle cymbal and tom-tom work to the mix. Yahel’s increasingly rapid right hand arpeggios erupt to the surface like a bubbling geyser of creativity until he slowly releases the pressure with some syncopated chording. At the coda, Penman’s bass and Yahel’s renewed pizzicato accompaniment fades to silence. A brief glimpse into the acoustic promise of this artist.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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