Ari Erev and the OPEN Group:
"Open Possibilities"


Ari Evev

'A Handful of Changes' album front cover. 'Flow' album front cover.

The OPEN Group combines Latin-flavored jazz compositions with modern, straight ahead Jazz, creating a colorful set, full of variety and inspired playing.

The band repertoire is based on original compositions by the group's pianist and leader Ari Erev, mainly from his latest albums: "Flow" and "A Handful of Changes". The band also plays its own Jazz arrangements for a number of Israeli songs written by one of Israel's greatest composers - Alexander "Sasha" Argov, as well as its own interpretation for some Jazz standards.

Open Group in 'Ha-Ozen' club, Tel-Aviv

Joel Frahm, who participated in "A Handful of Changes" album recording and is optionally available for performance with the OPEN Group, is one of New York's exceptional and most appreciated saxophone players. His recordings have been universally acclaimed and his live performances breathtaking. He released four CDs as a leader, and participated in many other recording as a sideman, including the recording of 'A Handful of Changes'.      [ More on Joel Frahm... ]

All other band members are leading and experienced musicians in the Israeli Jazz scene, including performances in Jazz series and festivals. All of them also have rich international experience, playing with world-renowned, international musicians and/or have released their own albums as leaders.


[ More on OPEN Group band members... ]



Video Samples                  [ More Video... ]


"Jump into the Water"
From album: "Flow":

"Latin Currents"
From album: "Flow":


"Open Possibilities"
From album: "A Handful of Changes":


"Precious Present"
From album: "A Handful of Changes":


"Irit's Wave (live)"
From album: "A Handful of Changes":


Selected Reviews                  [ More reviews... ]

"...Extraordinary outing..., featuring Latin elements and establishing an assertive bop-ish flair..., ...Combine beautiful solo moments..."


"...Erev's piano playing is delicately executed... an impressive project indeed...
a presentation of individual, inner beauty..."


"...Smart, promising and eloquent compositions. ...Praise gems brilliantly scored a cast of superior players... a journey worth taking."


"...Performance is absolutely spotless... sophisticated and intelligent mainstream Jazz,... piano work that shines brightly and is exceptionally lovely throughout. Touch and intimate feel for the melody is absolutely gorgeous... the entire album is a feast from start to finish."


"Joyful music, optimistic and full of life... like a delicate and emotional Samba... Excellent album!..."    (Translated)



Liner Notes Text  

For "Flow": In Flow, pianist-composer Ari Erev and his players pour fresh energies into the pool of sounds that nourish our world. They do so in accord with the hallmarks of personal expression, collaborative interplay and creative sophistication that characterizes jazz in all its glorious styles and forms.
[ Full Liner Notes for "Flow"... ]

For "A Handful of Changes": The release of "A Handful Of Changes", which builds upon the success of Ari Erev's previous CD "About Time", shows the progress and continued musical evolution of Erev, who, in his native Israel, has developed into a top jazz pianist and composer.
[ Full Liner Notes for "A Handful of Changes... ]


Band Members  

Ari Erev. Photo: Gangi N all that jazz
Ari Erev - the group leader. A pianist well known on the Iareali jazz scene for his warm and melodic style. His albums, "About Time" (2008) and "A Handful of Changes" (2012) (on which this program is based) have been very warmly received by critics both locally and abroad.

Gilad Dobrecky
Gilad Dobrecky - Named "one of the world top percussionists" by Jazziz magazine, played with Brad Mehldaou, Regina Carter, and many more. Gilad has played with many ethnic groups, in a variety of styles, including including Middle Eastern, North and West African, Brazilian, Classical and Jazz.

Joel Frahm. Photo: Gangi N all that jazz

Joel Frahm - One of the exceptional and most important tenor saxophonist on the New-York jazz scene. His recordings have been universally acclaimed and his live performances breathtaking. Released four CDs as a leader, and participated in many other recording as a sideman.

OR:
Kobi Salomon.

Kobi Salomon - Graduated with honor from the New York City College. Played with: Slide Hampton, John Patituchi, Joe Lovano, John Hiks and Mike Holober amongh others. While living in N.Y. he was a member of a few ensembles, including his own quartet, La Balteuband - an Argentinean-inspired jazz group, and the Salomon-Teubal duo playing Latin American jazz.

Simon Starr
Simon Starr - Bass player and producer, originally from Australia, had the privilage of studying with Gary Peacock and Dave Holland. He has performed in New York and in Europe and has released 7 albums in various music styles. In parallel to his original projects he is also part of a Moroccan/Andalusian fusion project led by pianist Omri Mor.

Roy Oliel.
Roy Oliel - Drums. Energetic drummer, Roy Oliel, is regularly involved in a number of musical projects, in parallel. Lately, he released "Focused", his second album as a leader following his debut album "Introducing Roy Oliel Sextet" (2010).

Ofer Shapiro.
Ofer Shapiro -Alto Saxophone and Clarinet - A unique and original voice in contemporary Israeli jazz. Lastly, he joined forces with baritone saxophone giant Gary Smulyan in his album "Two Views", released by the Jazzis label (2010).

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Flow - Liner Notes by Howard Mandel

In Flow, pianist-composer Ari Erev and his players pour fresh energies into the pool of sounds that nourish our world. They do so in accord with the hallmarks of personal expression, collaborative interplay and creative sophistication that characterizes jazz in all its glorious styles and forms.

This third album by the Tel Aviv-based Erev introduces a new set of original songs that expand on his taste for lyricism with a Hispanic accent. Inspired at first by virtuosic Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, who he heard on bassist Charlie Haden's bolero-tinged records Nocturno and Land of the Sun, Erev has made a study of keyboardists drawing upon Spanish, Caribbean, Mexican and South American musical legacies. He joins them in underscoring melodic themes with the rhythms of Africa adapted across the Atlantic Ocean as early as the 18th century, and 200 years later embraced all around the world.

This strategy requires skilled instrumentalists and in return spotlights their talents, so Erev has gathered accomplished compatriots to the task. Veteran bassist Eli Magen grounds the album's aura with his subtle yet substantive sound; drummer Ron Almog, best known for his prominent role in the Avi Lebovich Orchestra, and percussionist Gilad Dobrecky (on four tunes) deftly collude in support. Soprano saxophonist Yuval Cohen (of The Three Cohens, featuring his brother, trumpeter Avishai and sister, reedist Anat) richly enhances five tracks of Flow's tracks. The result of everyone's well-attuned efforts is more than an hour of music that soothes and stimulates in balanced measure.

"I prefer to leave these songs mostly unexplained," Erev says, "so that the listeners will come up with meanings and interpretations." But it will not hamper audiences' speculations to reveal that Flow's opener "Jump into the Water" was the last piece of this book written by the pianist. It came to him quickly one evening as a melody conveying the concept of taking a bold move "from which there is no way back. Once you jump, you can't regret it. . . "

"Flow" itself was the first song Erev penned for this project, a waltz that rises and dips during his piano solo as if buoyed by waves. On "Playful Moments" Cohen's voice-like horn floats upon a samba beat, a hint of "saudade," the Brazilian mood of nostalgic sadness, glistening through the song.

"July, Again" is Erev's tribute to his deceased friend and bassist Udi Kazmirski, who first gigged together on a July day; Kazmirski died in July 2012, hence the title. "Treasures in Havana" is Erev's allusion to spiritual, rather than material, assets, sparked by transcendent experiences, especially with music, he recalls from a family visit to Cuba.

Bassist Magen's line, says Erev, is the pivotal one of two meshing in "Inner Story." "What the Heart Sees" is Erev's evocation of the statement "What is Essential is invisible to the eye," from Antoine de St.-Exupery's fable The Little Prince. Might what's essential be clearer to the ear? It seems so, as Erev, Cohen, Magen and Almog avoid mere embellishment while sketching soulfulness at a luxuriously moderate pace. And so Flow continues, with "Continuance" emphasizing the power of carrying on; the lyrical "Domingo," by Brazilian pianist-composer Debora Gurgel; the self-explanatory "Latin Currents," and American pianist-composer Fred Hersch's "Endless Stars."

It's true these tracks need little explanation. Your own attentions and reactions to the musicians' intimate interplay and sensitivity will tell you all you need to know. The music gives the impression that it's being created in the moment, just for us. As Ari Erev says, "Flow is the state of mind during which one is immersed in a continuous act of doing something, usually with great enjoyment and complete focus, without even noticing the passage of time. A listener can easily enter such a state. Simply sit down, relax and go with this Flow.
                                                                                          Howard Mandel


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A Handful of Changes - Liner Notes by Scott Yanow

The release of "A Handful Of Changes", which builds upon the success of Ari Erev's previous CD "About Time", shows the progress and continued musical evolution of Erev, who, in his native Israel, has developed into a top jazz pianist and composer.

"My music has evolved during the past few years," says Ari. "The new CD combines the intimate, delicate and emotional style heard in my first album with some more energetic and Latin-oriented performances." While "About Time" showcased Ari Erev's playing in a trio, "A Handful Of Changes" features the pianist in settings ranging from a duet to a sextet with two saxophonists. The musicians on the set fit perfectly the Latin touch of the album. Tenor-saxophonist Joel Frahm, an American based in New York, is a major musician who provides a lot of fire to the date. Bassist Arie Volinez and drummer Eitan Itzcovich are notable not only as great musicians but as influential educators in Israel. New York-based bassist Tal Ronen plays bass on three of the songs. Percussionist Gilad Dobrecky has worked with Ari on a project of jazz interpretations of Cuban and Mexican songs. Ari credits him with substantial contribution to the Latin influence of the project. A special guest is Ofer Shapiro who plays alto on "Precious Present" and clarinet on "Light In Your Window."

The program opens with "Open Possibilities," a driving piece for the quintet. The energetic, Latin-tinged music gives one the impression that it can go in any spontaneous direction. Frahm displays a passionate tone, Erev's improvisation has a strong forward momentum, and Dorbecky's percussion adds excitement to the piece. "Irit's Wave" is dedicated to Ari's wife. The lyrical jazz waltz has Erev and Frahm making personal statements. "Step By Step" has a haunting feel, is memorable enough to possibly become a standard in the future, and features Frahm's heated soprano.

"Kshe'Or Dolek Ba'Halonekh" (which in English translates to "Light In Your Window") is one of two songs on this set by composer Alexander Argov. "While he is not considered a "Jazz" composer," says Ari, "his use of advanced harmonies always intrigued me. Ofer Shapiro's clarinet solo is particularly special.

Chopin's "Prelude in E Minor Op. 28, No. 4," leads into the similar sounding standard "So In Love," a fine showcase for the rhythm section. Erev's "Simple Melody" has a pretty theme that Frahm sings through his tenor. The complex harmonies challenge the soloists and give the song a great deal of substance. Of "Precious Present," Ari says, "Time is a precious present and no moment should be wasted. The night before the recording, my daughter had a car accident but was fortunately not hurt. That too was a precious present, the luck that we had." This Brazilian-flavored piece features the full sextet with Shapiro's alto and Frahm's soprano blending together perfectly; both take lively solos.

The standard "For All We Know" is a slow ballad interlude given a heartfelt and very emotional treatment by the duo of Joel Frahm and Ari Erev. "Transformation" gives Erev and Frahm opportunities to solo over both 5/4 and 4/4 time and they swing with creativity "Me'Ever La'Tkhelet" is a melodic piece that showcases the trio and features interplay by Erev, Ronen and Itzcovich that is worthy of the Bill Evans Trio. The set concludes with "On Second Thought," a superior workout for Frahm on soprano with the trio.

Taken as a whole, this recording shows Ari Erev's mastery of the jazz mainstream, finding his own voice within modern straight ahead jazz while creating a colorful set full of variety and inspired playing.

"A Handful Of Changes" is a giant step forward for the pianist-composer, whose reputation in the jazz world will obviously be spreading far beyond Israel.

                                                                                          Scott Yanow,
Author of ten books including The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76

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