Eldad Tarmu is one of the most original vibraphonists in jazz, an improviser with his own sound and approach both as an improviser and a composer. His new album “Tarmu Jazz Quartet”, a group with alto saxophonist Adam Hutcheson, bassist Sam Bevan, and drummer Cengiz Baysal, delivers nine rhythmically adventurous yet accessible pieces, mixing together concise and heated solos with lightly funky tunes that are full of telepathic interplay. The recording is excellent with all instruments given chance to shine.
The opener, “Cafe Sole,” has brief solos and lively, inventive arrangements. “Self-Inflicted Wounds” features colourful unisons with Hutcheson’s alto in a prominent role. “El Hipnotizador” is an attractive piece with fine alto and vibes solos over Bevan’s hypnotic bass playing. The eccentric and slyly witty pattern played by the rhythm section on “Beneath the Gloss and Shine” is particularly memorable, as is both “Kinda Elegant,” a colourful strut filled with unexpected ideas, and the stirring “No Makeup.” The wistful “A Tale Of Dirt And Flowers,” an assertive “Mating Calls,” and the complex “Tall Glass Prairies” conclude the exhilarating and consistently surprising set which takes listeners to some unexpected destinations along the way. The close communication between the musicians and the mixture of arranged ensembles with spontaneous solos result in fresh, original, and infectious music.
Eldad Tarmu was born and raised in Los Angeles. He originally played drums and percussion before switching to the vibraphone where his mentor was Dave Pike. He spent time in Israel, studied and graduated from Tel Aviv University, and then back in the United States performed and recorded with a range of jazz groups including Freddie Hubbard, Frank Morgan, Poncho Sanchez, and Ernie Watts. Tarmu became a world traveller, performing at festivals and venues in over twenty-five countries while developing his own fresh voice on the vibes. He began recording as a leader in 1997 with Aluminum Forest, followed by Get Up Close, which garnered notable critical acclaim. Between 2005 and 2008, he ran the jazz department of a Romanian university and toured extensively in Eastern Europe. He currently teaches music at the college level in the New York area, while performing regularly and continuing to write jazz and contemporary classical music for various ensembles.
Tarmu Jazz Quartet is Eldad Tarmu’s tenth recording as a leader or co-leader, and is arguably his finest to date. Its release should earn him recognition as one of jazz’s finest vibraphonists and a skilled composer. The release date is March 1, 2023 on Queen of Bohemia Productions. It will be featured on World of Jazz on 26th February.