BandOrient
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BandOrient

Band World Jazz

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This is an excellent album, that makes very clear the convergence that is suggested - that Oriental/Arabic music can coexist with Western/Modern musical concepts. This convergence is very clear by listening to the compositions and the strong emphasis on improvisation, playing techniques and the final sound of the recording itself. Even though Yair’s character is the leading force behind this project, this is very much an ENSEMBLE effort in which all members contribute their own musical compositions.
The percussionist, Erez Mounk, the electronic wind instrument player, Eli Benacot, and the bass player, Tzur Ben Ze’ev, are in top form. The great sound quality of the recording itself, makes each instrument’s sound very distinctive. As a group they sound very tight and clear, and in spite of the fact that there is a lot of improvisation, not one note is out of place and it’s very clear that each sound was weaved very
carefully into every composition. If you listen closely to the opening dialog between the tabla and the “fat” bass, and the slow, gradual entrance of the oud on the opening track, “Before the Rain”, the previous statement will become very clear. The surprising decision to include an electronic wind instrument in this setting has quite a
positive effect. The EWI is a sort of electronic saxophone/flute that allows themusician total control of a wide range of synthesized & sampled sounds. In the tracks, “Arrarat” and “Between the Jazz and the Tigris River”, this choice proves itself. It’s not just the introduction of a Jazz/Rock element but a proof that this is NOT a forced attempt to sound “exotic” or “authentic”. The fact that strong western musical
elements are part of the whole, is actually a very honest statement.
That said, to my ears, the choice of acoustic flute or saxophone would have worked better on the track titled “Eyes of Sunset”, which I believe is the most beautiful composition on this album. This track is a sort of musical journey with different segments. It starts with a slow repetitive movement that builds up to a swirling dance mode that ends on a calming note. It’s a great testament to a good measure even though it’s 15 minutes long. This piece has a very strong musical structure,
very captivating musical logic and great beauty .Even though the oud is the most dominant instrument, there’s a great sense of equality and mutual creative work, and it is a treat to follow each of the musicians taking his turn. Ben Ze’ev brings a very clear and polished Jazz sensibility into the mix, while Mounk brings in his vast
experience in playing traditional music of the Near East. Mounk also composed the track titled “A Wink”, which has more of an urban, fast paced rhythm to it, and “breaks” the musical mould, but at the same time brings a blessed respite from the rest.

- Haaretz,


The small print on the back of BandOrient’s first CD instructs retailers to “file under Ethno Jazz”: two little words liable to raise eyebrows for, as a genre, this has probably produced more shockers than most. However, one of the guiding lights in BandOrient, Oud player Yair Dalal, is among the most adept and sincere musicians working in the Middle East today. It’s certainly worth venturing beyond the suspect label. What we find inside ranges from the truly sublime to the truly beastly, BandOrient’s other three members play assorted percussion, double bass and EWI
(Electronic Wind Instrument) - a blown MIDI controller that allows the player unbridled access to synthesized sounds and samples. If you’re an ardent fan of jazz rock’s more noodley excesses, then you should buy this album straight away: all the playing here will delight and amaze you. Yair Dalal is quite magnificent, the bass and percussion playing of Tzur Ben Ze’ev and Erez Mounk perfectly bridges East and West and Eli Benacot demonstrates wondrous dexterity on his clever little EWI. However, if you spent much of the late 70s trying to avoid Weather Report, you may be a little more circumspect about the squealing synth portamentos that mar an otherwise beautifully balanced and tasteful maiden voyage from this group.

- Songlines Magazine


Discography

BandOrient is the first album of the eponymous band

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Bio

BandOrient was created from a deep love for music and from the wish to get musicians and different types of music together.
BandOrient is a very unique formation, with four virtuosos, from the World and Jazz music scenes, bringing together for the first time on stage and in a recording, two instruments that were 3000 years apart, the antique oud and the ultra modern EWI ( Electronic Wind Instrument).

Yair Dalal, born in 1955; composer, violinist, oud player and singer; is probably the most prolific Israeli ethnic musician and plays an important role in shaping the global world music scene. Over the last decade he has put 11 albums, covering wide and varied cultural territory, and authentically representing Israel’s cultures and fusing them through music as whole. Much of Dalal’s work reflects his extensive musical skills in both classical and Arabic music and also reflects a strong affinity he has for the desert and its habitants. Dalal’s family came to Israel from Baghdad and his Iraqi roots are embedded in his musical work. Whether working on his own, or with his Alol ensemble, Dalal creates new Middle Eastern music by interweaving the traditions of Iraqi and Jewish Arabic music with a range of influences originating from such diverse cultural milieus as the Balkans to India. The evocative compositions comprise a unique and colorful sound. Apart from creating music, Dalal devotes his time to preserving musical heritages from becoming extinct - the Babylonian musical heritage and the music of the Bedouins (the Sinai desert nomads).

Eli Benacot, EWI and saxophone player is among Israel's top jazz performers, with thousands of stage TV and recording appearances to his credit. Head of the Film Score Dept. at the country's leading School of Jazz and Contemporary
Music, he is also a leading composer, arranger, producer, teacher and writer.
Eli has appeared with eminent Jazz musicians like Dave Liebeman, Benny, Golson and Jerry Bergonzi.

Erez Mounk, master percussionnist. Plays the Indian tabla and Middle Eastern percussion such as : darbukka, rikk and various frame drums.
Erez studied the amazing Indian tabla under the guidance of Dr T Ram Naharayan Bhanavhat in India. Erez performs and records in Israel, Europe, USA and Japan with Israeli and international artists. His unique skill and playing add a special energy to the music.

Tzur Ben Ze’ev, a leader jazz musician, bass player, composer and musical producer, graduated the Manhattan Jazz School of Music, studied double bass with Maestro Edi Gomez. Played and performed in New York and L.A. Along more than 20 years, Ben Ze’ev has played and produced many artists and projects from Israel and abroad, among them the late singer Ofra Haza whom he toured with all over the world.
Tzur is a leading figure in the Israeli musical scene producing and performing in TV shows, international jazz festivals and arranging some of the top musical projects.