JazzTimes (p.56) - "His playing, improvising and composing are all quietly brilliant."
Personnel: Sam Yahel (piano, organ, Hammond b-3 organ); Jochen Rueckert (drums).
Audio Mixer: James Farber.
Recording information: Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NY (05/23/2010-05/24/2010).
Throughout much of his career, Sam Yahel was described as "organist Sam Yahel." But when his 2009 recording, Hometown, became commercially available, one started hearing him described as "organist/pianist Sam Yahel." On Hometown, Yahel played the acoustic piano exclusively -- which came as a surprise to listeners who knew him for his organ-oriented albums. And if anyone thinks that Hometown was just an anomaly for Yahel, From Sun to Sun proves otherwise; this is another piano-oriented effort from him. Yahel, however, doesn't play the piano exclusively on this 2010 recording; From Sun to Sun, unlike Hometown, also includes a little organ playing (the pensive "Blink and Move On" finds him on both organ and piano). But the acoustic piano is the main focus of From Sun to Sun, and the same musicians who accompanied Yahel on Hometown (bassist Matt Penman and drummer Jochen Rueckert) also accompany him on this 68-minute CD. From Sun to Sun is, for the most part, of album of piano trio performances; Yahel usually expresses his pianistic thoughts with original compositions, although there are some Tin Pan Alley standards as well (including Cole Porter's "So in Love," Donald Kahn's "A Beautiful Friendship," and Vernon Duke's "Taking a Chance on Love"). Hometown, for the most part, favored post-bop intellect, although the disc occasionally hinted at the funky soul-jazz pianism of Gene Harris. On From Sun to Sun, however, Yahel sticks to post-bop complexity -- which is probably just as well because he is obviously enjoying himself on this disc. From Sun to Sun is another enjoyable reminder of the fact that Yahel is not only a talented organist -- he is also a talented acoustic pianist. ~ Alex Henderson
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