In its review of pianist Shai Maestro’s ECM leader debut The Dream Thief, All About Jazz spoke of “a searching lyrical atmosphere, emotional eloquence and communal virtuosity that serves the music.” All of which also applies to Human, where Maestro’s outgoing, highly-communicative band with fellow Israeli Ofri Nehemya on drums and Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder becomes a quartet with the inspired addition of US trumpeter Philip Dizack. Shai’s expansive pianism is well-matched by Dizack’s alert, quick-thinking approach to improvising. And, as ever, Maestro is taking the music forward while also respecting its sense of tradition.
Near the end of a programme comprised almost entirely of Maestro originals, exploring a range of temperaments, the quartet offers its own take on Duke Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood”, while Shai’s tune “Hank and Charlie” pays tribute to the musical empathy shared by the late Hank Jones and Charlie Haden. Human was recorded at Studios la Buissonne in the South of France in February 2020, and produced by Manfred Eicher.