Engagement is the key to a meaningful life – Avram Fefer Quartet – Juba Lee

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In one of the first interviews I encountered about Avram Fefer in my research, I have seen a header says  “Engagement is the key to a meaningful life. Otherwise, why are we here?” The meaning of this sentence is very deep. Engagement to the roots that you come from, loyalty to an old friend, loyalty to the friends whom you are making music with. Master saxophonist Avram Fefer is a member of a generation loyal to the musicians he works with. Fefer with Eric Revis and Chad Taylor, (two of the free improvisation scene’s frequent collaborators) added exceptional guitarist Marc Ribot to their long-running trio and became quartet with Tastement album in 2019. The legendary power quartet is back with Juba Lee, released on November 18th via Clean feed.

Underground musicians who produce music outside of the mainstream deserve the most praise.

The chemistry they create is very different. The freely swinging quartet offers African rhythms at different times with maverick improvisations, offering an unusual free improvisation experience. Ribot finds solo areas from the first track, Showtime, and performs guitar parts in his unique solo style, without worrying about aesthetics in these solo parts. However, he captures a very bright tone in the parts where he knits the melody setup with Fefer, and stylizes his voice character enough to turn into a single voice character with Fefer’s warm and soulful tone in his tenor.

Avram Fefer wrote the Juba Lee album to exorcise the demons that haunted after a passing as a homage to his close friend, the leader of Burnt Sugar, The Arkestra Chamber, Greg Tate. In this context, some of the factors that increase the depth coefficient of the album are the ceremonial transitions and the deep blown scores of lamentation. Fefer’s dissonant tone in alto, which you hear often, Revis’ intonation is perfectly right, full-bodied and distinctive bass color, and Taylor’s drumming is as arousing as rock drums, with Ribot’s accompaniment at times, almost too muted, with the band’s distinctive sound. allows it to produce their signature.

From time to time, catchy harmonies are also included in the music, where they create delicious grooves that are almost danceable with repetitions, but sometimes the concept that does not worry about fluidity is found in fictional parts. This album is a treasure that will hit you on the first listen and will get you hooked on a new track every time you listen to it. The last track of the album, Sweet Fifteen (For G.T), is a lament in memory of Greg Tate. In this piece, Fefer opens the doors of a very different emotional dimension from his alto and tenor approach. Bass clarinet notes pouring over Ribot’s acoustic guitar accompaniment bless the spirit of Fefer’s old friend in the warmest and most sincere way. Based on my emphasis in my first sentence; It is a perfect album for those who want to diverge from the mainstream genres and make new discoveries.

Burak Sülünbaz

Co-Founder, Jazz Writer // Kurucu Ortak, Caz Yazarı

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