By: Edward Blanco

Pianist Assaf Gleizner, bassist and guitarist Koby Hayon and drummer Nadav Snir Zeinker share many things in common: all Israeli-born, all eventually relocate to, and are now part of, New York and its vibrant jazz scene, and finally, together, they are Trio Shalva (the Hebrew word for “Serenity”). Riding Alone is their recording debut exploring a landscape that blends a touch of World and the Jewish Folk influence with a strong jazz foundation. The result of course is, a non-traditional session of music that nevertheless, draws you in with a measure of curiosity, unquestioned musicianship and pure charm.
The jazz elements of the music come brightly through from the opening “Shir Ahava Bedoui,” (A Bedouin Love Song), an Israeli classic nicely arranged by Gleizner, midway through the piece the music changes and becomes a hard-driving number with exploding chords from the pianist accompanied with firm stick work and a dotting bass line to finish the tune. In quite contrast, “1-3-4-8” is a gorgeous straight jazz piece of music drawn from the first Waltz bassist Hayon composed in 2008.

Though eventually accompanied by his band mates, the classical-bent title piece is for the most part, a solo effort from the pianist who also composed the tune. The World music influences come to bare on “Misirlou” (“Egyptian Girl” in Greek) as the arrangements enhance the Mediterranean rhythms while “Pizmon La Yakinton” (A Song for the Hyacinth), a famous Israeli lullaby is transformed into a delicious slice of contemporary jazz thanks to the drummer’s arrangement—who by the way includes a terrific drum solo here.

The Israeli influence is also experienced on the last two pieces, “Sova” and Erev Shel Shoshanim” featuring Hayon on the Nylon string guitar and the pianist on the Melodica. The Israeli-born group taps heavily into their proud heritage in producing Riding Alone, yet this is definitely a jazz album of a unique nature as is Trio Shalva—a jazz trio with a flair for the music of the World.

Year: 2011 Label: Self-Produced Artist Web: