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Home Press Press Reviews Intricacy Saul Berson Quartet, Intricacy - November 2007

CD Reviews: Saul Berson Quartet, "Intricacy"

Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 10:56 AM

By: Edward Blanco

Based in the Vancouver area, the Saul Berson Quartet presents us with their third offering since the band’s establishment in 1998. Leader and alto saxophonist Berson has been performing for 25 years and during that time has delved into the world and Avant-Garde musical styles influencing the music on this recording. The music is non-traditional jazz incorporating Arabian rhythms as well using non-traditional instruments. The band uses the accordion, discards the standard drum and employs the classic Middle Eastern drum (darbuka) on one track.


Though unconventional in style, the music is still quite good. With the exception of Duke Ellington’s “KoKo,” pianist Kim Darwin’s “Middle Class Dance” and the Klenner/Lewis standard “Just Friends,” Berson provides all original compositions here. Besides Berson playing the alto, the band includes Darwin on the piano and accordion, Tony Wilson on guitar and Paul Blaney on bass. Boris Sichon sits in on track eight playing the darbuka.

The two tracks with a decidedly heavy Middle Eastern flavor on the album are, Darwin’s “Middle Class Dance” and “Corner of Cairo & Main” where Darwin uses the accordion and guest Sichon drums the darbuka. The second track, “What The…?” plays out in the Avant-Garde fashion.

Berson, while featured throughout, shines on the beautiful ballad-like “Fragile Reality” with an exquisite solo. This tune along with the buoyant “Just Do It,” the exotic “Allure” and the classic “Just Friends” come across in a more contemporary jazz mode.

Delivering an uncommon approach to modern jazz, The Saul Berson Quartet lays down quite an interesting, engaging and impressive musical statement with “Intricacy.” This is definitely not your average jazz band so be prepared to hear something new and dare I say it, “intricate” and not at all standard with this album.