Two in One
Experienced Jazz Guitar performer and composer, Mr. River has released two albums this year. The first album, also with his own original arrangements, is a duo with vocalist Tony Furio, features mostly jazz standards. The second album, Two in One, which was released under Mr. River's own label (Sarel's Production), features his own quartet (Steve Hass drums, Mat Pennman bass, Matan Klein flute and Sarel River guitar), playing eight of Mr. River's original compositions/arrangements. This album reflects his diverse international background with delightful original blends of flute and guitar. An experienced listener would find this album unique and surprising. Mr. River is a versatile jazz composer and a spirited performer. His composition and performance work encompass ballads, Latin tunes, Bebop, as well as ECM tunes. A native of Haifa, Israel, now a resident of New York City, thirty-eight years old, Mr. River quickly established himself as a rising jazz guitar voice in the city. Within the last three years Mr. River performed in many New York City jazz clubs, including Kavehaz, Smalls and others. He had performed, with fellow jazz musicians in concerts, most notably in Lawrence and Alma Berk Recital Hall in Boston in 1993 and, in the following year in a concert at the Boston Afro-American Artist Association Festival in Copley Square. In 1995 he moved to Budapest, Hungary, where he performed in concerts and maintained his own clout in many local jazz clubs. A graduate of Berklee College of Music with a degree in Music (guitar performance major), Mr. River enjoyed the intensive collaboration, inspiration and support of some influential, well known jazz musicians. Jerry Bergonzi, one of the most influential tenor players on the East Coast, who was recording with Blue Note at the time was improvisation professor. Mr. River also studied with Gary Dahl, Larry Baione (The Chairman of the Guitar Department at Berklee), Mordy Ferber, Hal Crook, and Garrison Fewel. Mr. River continued his studies with Greg Hopkins, one the legends of the Bebop era, and the known bassist Dave Clark, with both of whom he studied composition, and remain to be two of his most important sources of inspiration. Intensive studies in composition, improvisation and jazz guitar, plus extensive venue and concert performance experience yield the mature and unique jazz artist Mr. River is today. His prolific musical and cultural backgrounds guarantee the development of his distinctive composition and performance style. While the plans for his next original album are on the way, Mr. River continues to teach, perform, compose and grow. Press review: For his second album, guitarist Sarel River takes his regular quartet through a play list of original material, with the exception of Joe Henderson's 'Serenity'. River is a native of Haifa, Israel, has gigged in Budapest, eventually relocating in New York where he has become active on the local jazz circuit. The not oft heard combination of guitar and flute creates a different but pleasant aural sensation, having an echo chamber effect on some cuts. River and flautist Matan Klein work together in carrying the melody lines of River's compositions. Helping to keep the music from falling into a rut is River's ability to balance smooth, clean single string affects with heavier chords, especially when playing in duet with Klein. Not only does this give greater variety to the quality of the guitar, but it also changes the sound of the flute, one of the more limited instruments in the jazz arsenal. This recalls work by groups headed by Joe Farrell and Hubert Laws. The tactic also gives the impression that there are two guitars on the album, one playing strictly rhythm. One hears the effect of this approach on such tunes as 'Two in One' and 'Back Home'. The group achieves a delicate balance in the way they mesh. As River and Matan take up the front line duties, Mat Pennman's bass lays a solid foundation, along with an occasional solo, while fine drummer Steve Hass stays busy creating a variety of rhythmic undertones without overreaching. River's compositions also are not overreaching and are unlikely to become part of the basic jazz literature. But they swing and bounce along, fortified by the outstanding musicianship of the performers, with the flute playing especially distinguished. Recommended (four stars ****). - - Dave Nathan All Music Guide ----------------- JIM STONE'S BIG BAND SWING WLNZ, 89.7 FM YOUR CAPITOL CITY JAZZ CONNECTION 'A BBS CD REVIEW' 'TWO IN ONE' SAREL RIVER HERE IS A NEW CD BY SAREL RIVER THAT GIVES YOU SOME EXCELLENT INSTRUMENT TRACKS NICELY DONE WITH GUITAR, BASS AND FLUTE. SAREL IS NOT ONLY A SUPERB GUITARIST BUT HE IS A COMPOSER, TOO. ONE OF MY FAVORITES IN THE ALBUM IS THE CUT 'MISERY', AND I MUST THANK SAREL FOR GIVING US TWO VERSIONS OF THE SONG. HE WROTE ALL BUT ONE SELECTION IN THE CD AND THE TRACKS TO CHECK OUT ARE 'BACK HOME', THE TITLE CUT 'TWO IN ONE', 'MISERY' AND 'MOVING'. SAREL'S MUSIC IS STIMULATING AND INVITING. HE HAS A FLAIR FOR MIXING INSTRUMENTATION THAT ADDS TO THE ENJOYMENT OF LISTENING TO THIS SUPERB CD OVER AND OVER AGAIN. THE BEST SWING FROM YESTERDAY AND TODAY WLNZ.ORG (Saturday nights at 7 Eastern Time) ----------------- Sarel River - FLUTE AND GUITAR WORK VERY WELL TOGETHER - NICE COMPOSITION - liked 'Home Alone' Jack Simpson, Jazz on the Beach ----------------- I enjoyed very much this marvelous recording by this brilliant young composer-guitarist Sarel River. It's nice to know that his career started here in Boston where he attended The Berklee College of Music. Sarel's music will continue to captivate listeners for many years to come. This is a wonderful debut for a multi-talented musician who deserves to be heard by all those who appreciate great jazz. Ron Dela Chica WGBH - Boston, MA WPCM - Plymouth, MA ----------------- Sarel is an outstanding musician and a quality person. We have placed his CD on hundreds of stations across America. This is awesome, Sarel's future is very bright I believe in due time the young man will achieve great heights in recording and working all over the world. Leonard Triola, Radio Promoter -----------------.