Shalosh is a jazz trio, their name literally means three in Hebrew. The trio offers a brand of soulful non-traditional jazz pioneered by Scandinavian luminaries such as Tord Gustavsen and EST. Tales Of Utopia is the trio’s sixth album. These extraordinarily talented guys hail from the holy land and indeed purport to antecedence in the city of Jerusalem itself, they are Gadi Stern on piano and keyboards, David Michaeli on double bass and Matan Assayag on drums.
The album also lists a number of musical guests: Tula Ben Ari, Raz Eitan, Rani Birenbaum, Matan Caspi, Yogev Shitrit, Ella Greenbaum, Eden Giat, and Guy Dayan. Shalosh’s work is all about telling stories through sound and the song titles draw on myths and tales from the Old Testament and Homer’s Odyssey, as well as Christian mythology.
The clues may be in the titles, but you will be wasting precious time trying to divine much from this and are advised to washing your ears with some of the most sublime sounds I heard in 2023. There is a Bach like lyrical playfulness throughout the album. One piece combines themes from one of South America’s most famous songs (El Manisero) with Yemenite inspired rhythms. Notes harmonies and rhythms are complemented by gentle hints of middle-eastern Turkish/Arabic themes and the tuneful and melodious musical gestalt offers gentle clues that are almost hidden while melodies and harmonies ebb and flow while showcasing the very considerable musical talent of the trio.
Shalosh don’t feature a lead instrument, the warm ish high quality recording highlights the very considerable talent of a unified musical partnership that is capable of generating a creative harmonious performance with aplomb. The musicianship and skill with which the instruments are played is at times mesmerising. And the 44.1/16 download is excellent; warm, precise, and open.
In its conclusion the information sent with the album states that Shalosh: This is exciting music, a panoply of colours and timbres. It invites the listener to be enchanted and to focus on its sheer beauty. It also has deep humanity: rather than striving for perfection, it bristles with energy and vitality. The language may be slightly hyperbolic, but it is nevertheless, accurate. Tales of Utopia gets my vote for album of the year.