Hasidic New Wave From the Belly of Abraham

From David Kraukauer's famed musical brunches in Manhattan have emerged some of the most compelling musical experiments in the category of "new klezmer." Initially begun as a side project by Klezmatics trumpeter Frank London and saxophonist Greg Wall, Hasidic New Wave was quickly established as almost a genre unto itself, fusing jazz with traditional hasidic nigns (spiritual melodies). On their fourth release (subtitled "Adventures of the Afro-Semitic Diaspora") the band takes a surprising ninety degree turn, and again forges new musical ground in collaborating with Senegalese drumming ensemble Yakar Rhythms. One of their greatest attributes, aside from the inspired playing of guitarist David Fiuczynski (Screaming Headless Torsos), is their willingness as a group to let arrangements unfold. They take the time to give a proper introduction to lead sabar drummer Aliounne Faye and his players during one of the opening tracks, "Yemin Hashem," which somehow seamlessly weaves together a dense sabar rhythm, a 19th century Lubavitcher melody, and an arrangement inspired by James Brown. "Sea of Reeds" is another sexy little number, with particularly beautiful and understated work from the horn players woven around a traditional NDou rhythm (reputed to protect fishermen at sea). This cut and the concluding track are as seductive as some of HNW's best work on "Kabalogy," with a decidedly funky 1970s feel. But while the music is consistently gorgeous, Hasidic New Wave's overall range is certainly narrower on this record. The compositions are not as varied or adventurous as their earlier work, and most notably absent is the delicious naughtiness that made Kabalogy and Psycho-Semitic such irreverent fun. (Knitting Factory)