Jazz / Klezmer Fusion Band KLAZZ-MA-TAZZ Release TANGIBILITY – a review by FRED STAL
Tangibility, released on September 2nd via One Trick Dog Records, is the debut album release from Klazz-Ma-Tazz; a genre bending ensemble that fuses jazz and klezmer, among other styles of music. It is clear by listening to this record that this is a talented group of musicians on a quest to chart new musical territory and not be confined by one particular genre. Very much based in Jazz, this album courses through the influences of Klezmer, Balkan Folk Music, Native American Tribal Dances, Indian Classical Music, as well as English and Irish Folk Music and more. Klazz-Ma-Tazz members include: Benjamin Sutin (Violin and Tambourine), Elijah Shiffer (Alto Saxophone and Clarinet), Grant Goldstein (Electric Guitar), Ben Rosenblum (Piano and Harmonium), Mat Muntz (Upright Bass), Matt Scarano (Drums), and Ani Challa (Tabla),
The opening tracks “Papini” followed by “Sari Cicek”, combine both klezmer and Turkish Folk respectively. The following two tracks contain Benjamin Sutin originals entitled “Thank You” and “Tangibility”. Both appropriately titled, offer a palpable framework that fuses jazz and klezmer. There is a high level of focus that comes through on this recording, while leaving room for improvisation and a kind of energy that often can only be captured live. The group played a remarkable show celebrating their debut release on September 2nd, at the renowned Cornelia Street Café in New York City.
Tangibility continues with the Balkan-African influenced “Tbilisi”, written by bassist Mat Muntz. This is very much an eclectic and culturally rich concoction of music executed in a cohesive manner. “Miserlou” is a creative take on the Eastern Mediterranean traditional, arranged by band leader Benjamin Sutin. This group is very honest in their musical approach, and on “Speak the Truth”, another Sutin original, there is a good sense that there is a conscious effort to do so.
The album closes out with “Requiem” which is written by Benjamin Sutin, as well as Ben Rosenblum and Grant Goldstein, and lastly “Kluez”. A collective effort by finely trained musicians each in their own right, there is a unifying quality to this music, as it pays homage to an assortment of genres and cultures. The production values on this disc are reminiscent of the best production from the 70’s. The mixing and mastering benefits from the jazz and classical expertise of engineer Dev Avidon, and the graphics capture the middle eastern/balkan ethos. This is through and through a great record with a vision, and Klazz-Ma-Tazz is surely a talent on the rise.