Zohar Keter

Avant jazz pianist Uri Caine and Sephardic cantor Aaron Bensoussan join forces for this spiritual meeting of Eastern Jewish liturgical music with heavy groove jazz accompaniment. In addition to keyboards, percussion, bass and guitar, DJ Olive (from the group We) dishes out programmed samples and beats as a point of transition from one composition to the next. Born in Morocco, Bensoussan studied “Sephardic hazanoot,” the Eastern tradition of Jewish chanting in prayer, with his father. Bensoussan doesn’t limit his talents to leading congregations in synagogue prayer, but is always looking for opportunities to share his music’s spirituality. Connecting with Uri Caine, an internationally acclaimed composer known for his reworking of Mahler, makes for a potent collaboration similar in drive to some of the contemporary works of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The band’s name, Zohar, is an ancient book of Jewish mysticism and the six-member band from a variety of backgrounds work together to find common spiritual ground. As Eastern melodies, funky rhythms and expansive jazz excursions swirl together, the music on Keter indeed travels to new level of soul. (Knitting Factory)