Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Aram Bajakian's Kef: Guitarist Introduces the Armenian Tinge
Generally anything that comes out on Tzadik Records, I've found, is a musical gift, something nobody else covers much, if at all. The recent release Aram Bajakian's Kef (Tzadik) falls right in with that idea. It's a most interesting ensemble headed by guitarist Bajakian. He and his bandmates combine traditional Armenian sounds with electric rock elements, fusionoid organicism, and a bit of avant downtown noise-skronk. Shanir Blumenkranz joins on acoustic and electric bass, oud and gimri, while violinist Tom Swafford rounds out the group with world village-meets-the Village savvy.
There are acoustic forays of great beauty, energetic dance-form Armeniana and journeys into more abstracted rock territory. Nobody is out to wow you with machine-gun virtuosity but the thoroughgoing musical vision comes off with superb musicianship and fully creative attention to form and expression.
It's part of what so-called fusion has become in New York in recent years, a world music that is cosmopolitan and urban, that takes on the centuries-old incorporation of ethnically distinct elements into a big-apple cauldron of performativity and makes it all new again.
This is an excellent set that will satisfy your need for a different musical approach that revels in difference. Recommended!