A review by Editor in Chief of www.flutejournal.com, Mr. Peter Westbrook PhD
Mattan Klein – Sound Tracks
With CDs from Italy, Poland, a Londoner from Guyana and a Hungarian New Yorker in my review in-box, (and one of Flute Journal’s reviewers coming from Slovenia) it should not be news that the jazz flute community is expanding internationally. Now, in addition, here is confirmation that excellence in this genre is coming from worldwide sources.
Mattan Klein’s fourth recording, Sound Tracks, which is due for release in September, comes to us from Israel — conceived in Israel, sponsored in Israel, produced in Israel, recorded in Israel, featuring five fine Israeli musicians. True, after graduating from the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Klein spent 10 years in New York, where he produced two of his recordings, but he has been back in Israel since 2008.
Klein is represented here as both flutist and composer, with seven of the eight compositions being his originals and the eighth his arrangement. Whether or not it was his intention (and whether it will withstand the modern tendency toward $.99 per track sampling) the recording gives the impression of a suite, with one piece flowing to the next. The style clearly belongs to the current generation of jazz artists, with just a hint of the sensibilities unique to Klein’s world — a touch of New York, a touch of Israel and a reflection of his deep interest in the music of Brazil. It is all integrated into his unique voice, however, one that restrains the use of chromaticism that goes along with this style to create the balance of elements that still evades many performers.
A similar balance of elements informs Klein’s style as a soloist, his statements unfolding organically from the composed sections. With a full-bodied sound, a broad melodic sense and a nimble harmonic one Klein is a soloist to watch. Guitarist Ofer Ganor and pianists Omri Mor and Tom Oren compliment Klein very nicely and the rhythm section of Avri Borochov, bass and Roy Oliel, drums provides support that pushes the soloists without ever becoming overbearing.
This is a very fine recording that grows on you after repeated listening. I hope Flute Journal readers will look for it. There are still barriers for foreign jazz artists to overcome, at least in the USA where residence in New York can be a significant advantage in Down Beat polls, even over West Coast artists. We can only hope that Klein receives the exposure he needs to make his new recording a success. It definitely deserves it.
Selections: 1. Used to be a Bossa 2. The Ritualist 3. Doors 4. The Lizard of Oz 5. Sort Of 6. Jinrikisha 7. An Umbrella For One 8. t&t All compositions by Mattan Klein except Jinrikisha by Joe Henderson
Personnel: Mattan Klein – Flute, composer/arranger; Ofer Ganor – Guitar; Omri Mor [1,2,5,7,8], Tom Oren [3,4,6] – Piano; ; Avri Borochov – Bass; Roy Oliel – Drums
Mattan's quintet music is flowing, bright and listener friendly, his flute sound is clear, crispy and melodic, and the Israeli-Brazilian-Swiss ensemble is the ultimate contemporary Jazz sound, spiced with warm unique flute sounds from Klein.
Mattan Klein's virtuoso improvisation lifts Jazz-flute playing to new heights.
Yossi Harsonsky, Senior Music Critic, Maariv
Klein's 'Project White Chocolate' performs exquisite Brazilian and original music... their convoy lands in Rio de Janeiro but immediately takes off to explore the territory of contemporary Jazz where they possess a strong knowledge of the local dialect...
Asher Kesher, Jazz Critic, Kol Hazman, Jerusalem
I have to admit that I was little ambivalent about what to do on Friday night the 11th; the California Guitar Trio, a Robert Fripp-influenced ensemble that I like, was at the Clifton Center the same night as The Mattan Klein Quintet was appearing at the Jazz Factory. I opted for the unfamiliar and was highly pleased with my choice. Klein is a flutist, originally from Israel, who leads a multinational quintet that consists of Swiss pianist Manu Koch, Brazilian electric bassist Gustavo Amarante, Israeli drummer Dan Aran and Brazilian percussionist Joca Perpignan. The opening number "Yamba Samba" ("Lots of Samba") showed that this group played Brazilian jazz with authenticity. Guitarist Avi Rothbard was not present due to his having recently become a father; he was represented, however, by his song "Unstable," which appears on Klein's CD LoveAlive. "Laximum," was a fast, polyrhythmic workout, held together by Amarante's steady bass. "The Lost Kid" featured solos by Klein, Koch and Amarante over a funky backbeat. A slow pretty tune, "Pra Ela," also from the CD, was next. The last song of the evening was a fast-paced rendition of Egberto Gismonti's "Frevo," which has also been covered by jazz factory favorite Lynne Arriale. Perpignan's conga and percussion work on this song was outstanding. Klein's flutework throughout was Exquisite, clear and rhythmic.
Martin Z. Kasdan Jr., Jazz Columnist and Writer, Louisville Music News
Mattan Klein is one of the finest contemporary jazz flutists performing today. He wowed the NJW audience in his first Nashville appearance last summer, and we're fortunate to have him for a return visit. His quintet is truly international, and includes Manu Koch (piano), Gustavo Amarante (bass), Yuval Lion (drums), and Joca Perpignan (percussion).
Nashville Jazz Workshop
Masterful technique of a well rehearsed ensemble... fresh and original compositions which are both enlighting and entertaining.
Uri D. Herscher, President and CEO, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
Closing the festival, was Philadelphia favorite flutist Mattan Klein. His ensemble Seeds of Sun has played in Greater Philadelphia on numerous occasions including at the World Café Live. Mattan brought his fusion Latin-Israeli ensemble featuring sidemen Yuval Lion on Drums, pianist Manu Koch and bassist Gustavo Amarante. They rocked the house. Mattan’s ensemble drew the largest audience of the week. One of the special things about Mattan as a bandleader is his incredible ability to relate directly to the audience, he speaks about Israel, about Israeli jazz and truly makes his performance not only artistically rewarding but is as well an excellent “hasbara moment".
Deborah Baer-Mozes , Director of Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Israel, Philadelphia
An ensemble ripe and ready, equipped with a mature and complete sound, and an ability to bring out the best of its art.
New worlds of sound and rhythm dicovered by a musical group which has reached artistic maturity.
Noam Biton, Editor, Zman Modi'in
This was one of the finest evenings of jazz that I have ever experienced and I have been to many, including concerts by Herbie Mann, Miles Davis, Chuck Mangione and Santana. You and your group of fine musicians are on caliber with anyone performing jazz today.
Ed Finkelstein, Executive Director
Gordon JCC of Nashville
Wonderful musicians who are creative individully and as a group.
A veteran ensemble with excellent interaction and harmonious togetherness.
Eliyahu Schleifer Ph.D, HUCJIR, Jerusalem