An Unexpected Twist   Ben Shalev – (Ha’aretz)

Not every day do we come across a musician who having recently released a beautiful album, appears on the stage with the same materials and makes them more beautiful still. This is what happened last night at the excellent performance by pianist John Bostock at the Tel-Aviv Jazz Festival.

The live performance of Bostock’s compositions did not differ essentially from that of the album. The reason for the overall upgrading in the effect of the music lay principally in the inherent advantages of a live performance over recorded music: the immediacy of the event, the obvious rapport between the musicians (Bostock was supported by the contrabassist – Ora Boazson-Horev, and  the drummer – Danny Benedikt), and principally the feedback from the audience and the resulting sense of confidence which it gave the musicians. This last effect is probably what lies behind another advantage of the live performance over the album, a certain improvement in Bostock’s improvisation.

Bostock’s greatest strength lies in his compositions, which despite their clarity and transparency always conceal within them some unexpected twist. And in contrast to other musicians whose various compositions are really variations on an identical theme, Bostock hates to repeat himself. Each composition which he and his partners played in the performance differed from the previous one both in sound and emphasis.

“Journey to Gynthia” for example, is a fine attempt to reconstruct in reflective tones, observation of a Mediterranean landscape.

“One for Albert” is a relatively stormy tribute to saxophonist Albert Beger, who formerly employed Bostock in his first quartet. (Beger was present in the audience and was visibly moved when Bostock presented this piece)

“Flow My Tears” is a composition by the 16th century composer, John Dowland, which Bostock arranged in a most original way for piano trio, and “Ballad”, the most challenging  piece of the evening, is the skeleton of a modern classical composition for eight instruments which will be premiered next month in a performance by the “21st Century Ensemble”.

Here is yet another facet which distinguishes Bostock from other Jazz musicians: they base themselves on a tradition of several decades, his inspiration derives from a tradition of 500 years.


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