Avishai Darash "Samskara" Jazzenzo Jazz Magazine

"Samskaras", a concept from Indian philosophy, is the sum of impressions that you store in your subconscious throughout your life.  For pianist Avishai Darash (1986) it is about the musical influences that he has undergone during his life and that he incorporates on this album.  Among others Israeli folk (he is from French / Israeli origin), North African traditional music and jazz.  An important influence is Brad Mehldau who took care of him for a while during his studies.  Darash has been living in Amsterdam for almost ten years now.

His musical premise has yielded a very varied album.  Some songs are in a trio line-up and others are supplemented with violin, ud and vocals.  Due to the combination of Eastern influences and the dynamics of bass, drum and rhythmic piano patterns, the music is sometimes reminiscent of Avishai Cohen or Tigran Hamasyan.  "Jajoeka" opens with Arabic violin sounds, after which the piano, bass and drum come in.  The ud and the voice of Karima El Fillali further color the number.

You hear a wide range of rhythms.  Davash plays balanced improvisations alongside beautiful melodies with a round, sometimes romantic touch.  There are three vocal pieces, on which El Fillali sings in English.  Her voice is a bit on the thin side, but flawless with a pleasant hoarse edge.  The atmosphere changes constantly due to the variety of styles.  The flip side of this is that there is no own style.

The compositions themselves are, however, nicely balanced and each one tasteful.  They are sufficiently interesting due to their ingenious structure.  The strong melodies and rhythms make the music very accessible.  In other words, "Samskara" is an entertaining and very pleasant album.