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CULTURE: Arts reviews: Activist with quotes and plenty to say; Gilad Atzmon CBSO Centre.

Byline: Peter Bacon

It has been easy to lose sight of the strong link between jazz and the radical politics that are sometimes the only way to ensure its - and our - freedom.

After all, so much jazz has been made in recent years by fairly comfortable people in fairly comfortable countries.

Thankfully, Gilad Atzmon, the Israeli-born, London-resident saxophonist and composer, is here to remind us of that link.

His latest project, Rearranging The 20th Century, formed the basis of this concert with his Orient House Ensemble, presenting very effectively in pure music a fresh and disturbing view of that most troubled time.

But Atzmon is also an activist of the present, and Blair, Bush and Sharon came in for a good bashing, all by way of heavy satire. It was only in the encore, Jenin, in memory of the flattened Palestinian refugee camp, that the bitter laughter gave way to heart-wringing seriousness.

The music of the Orient House Ensemble is as wide-ranging as the band's origins - Argentinean vocals, Italian accordion and Romanian violin added to the Anglo-Israeli core quartet.

When Atzmon isn't racing up and down the bebop scales, he is quoting madly from jazz classics as diverse as Take Five and A Love Supreme, while subtly changing the tone of his instrument to highlight his origins and the traditional sounds from that navel of the world.

But over-riding the considerable instrumental technique of all involved, it is the intense beliefs and emotions they summon up and communicate that make this band's music so special.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 24, 2005
Words:255
Previous Article:CULTURE: Arts reviews: Warm feelings for a chilling message; Ex Cathedra The Oratory.
Next Article:CULTURE: Arts reviews: Scholars win top marks for effort; The Tallis Scholars Symphony Hall.


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