Jul 02, 2016 03:37 PM EDT | Mike Greenblatt (email@example.com)
Pianist-composer Daniel Meron, after serving in the Israeli military, won a full scholarship to study at the prestigious Berklee music school in Boston in 2007. By 2009, he was part of a burgeoning jazz scene in Brooklyn. A year later, his Directions debut captured the imagination of the jazz world. Now, after being touted by master musicians like Joe Lovano and Danilo Perez (under whom he studied), Meron, with singer wife Maia Karo, has settled into a sophisticated piano-trio-with-vocals-groove. It is here that the Sky Begins.
Buoyed by bassist Noam Wiesenberg and drummer Jimmy Macbride, his eight originals are smooth reminders that the human voice is the most expressive instrument of them all. Graduating to writing lyrics as well as the melodies and harmonic aspects that his vision entails, this is no cocktail hour with a boring jazz vocalist.
Karo is rather special. With her husband's unerring ear for assimilating piano, bass, drums and voice into a cohesive whole, Karo sublimates the usual out-front vocal stance into more of a fourth instrument. The result may be subdued, but, in its meandering journey, is, ultimately, satisfying.
"You Give Me Love" is a samba. "Water Ends" and "Secret Room" are solo piano wherein the former is an improvisation and the latter takes from European classical motifs. Rachmaninoff he may not be, but Meron knows whereof his talents lay: he has a delicious sense of syncopated awareness that engages the listener.
Although his lyrics tend to be overly romantic and sentimental, in the hands of Karo they come out thoughtful and serious. Plus, all eight tracks feature exquisite interplay, never forced, never meant to just show off, but just right.
This may not be Daniel Meron's ultimate groove. He's too talented for that. We're going to hear a ton more from him. It's so obvious.
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