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CD REVIEW: Assaf Kehati Trio - Naked

by: Cyrus Rhodes



"eloquent and masterful" 





Artist: Assaf Kehati Trio

CD: Naked

Label: AKJazz

Website: http://www.assafkehati.com/

Genre: Jazz, Blues
Sounds Like:
at Metheny, John Abercrombie, John McLaughlin, John Scofield.  Ralph Tower, Jim Hall and Alan Holdsworth

Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/ Musicianship Grade: 9/10

Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10

Best Songs: Naked, Beneath the Almond Tree, The Horses' Fight, Nathan Bo Rega, Song for Saba

Weakness: Post Production Approach




Boston based Jazz Guitarist Assaf Kehati and his trio just released “Naked” a stunning ne w9 track collection that features Assaf Kehati (Guitar, Compositions, and arrangements), Ehud Ettum (Bass) and Romen Itzik (Drums). IN a short amount of time he has made waves in the jazz scene by working with such names as George Garzone, Eli Degibri, Anat Cohen, Ferenc Nemeth, Donny McCaslin, Seamus Blake and legendary drummers Victor Lewis (Woody Shaw, Stan Getz) and Billy Hart (Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery). Mr. Kehati has performed at some of the world’s leading venues as Blue Note, NYC; Washington D.C. Jazz Festival; MuzEnergo Jazz Festival, Russia; New England Cable News, Tel Aviv Museum, Barranquilla Jazz Festival, Colombia; Bansko Jazz Festival; Bulgaria, Nisville Jazz Festival; Serbia, and Toronto Jazz Festival. CD was released in 2014 (AKJazz).


The CD gently takes flight with soothing “Song for Saba” a delicate earthy groove that serves inviting melody against smooth as silk rhythm section and mesmerizing Jazz guitar from Kehati that flows like fine wine across the ears. Track 2 “Long Ago and Far Away” presents a dynamic piece that serves up intoxicating musical flow, rich melody against impressive jazz-Guitar ambience with impressive Bass and Drum solo -tandems. This piece flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition making for an impressive follow-up statement.  Track 3 “Naked”  my personal favorite serves up a methodical heartfelt Jazz ballad painted against impressive solo guitar, hypnotic musical groove showcasing amazing syncopation from all members. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear the musicianship from everyone involved is clearly above the bar with impressive bass lines, methodical solos, and in the pocket rhythm section. The guitar work from Kehati proves he is a marquee talent. I especially liked the ending on Track 1 – masterful. This is Top Tiered Jazz with subtle hints of Blues. Song for song the effective combination of Kehati’s guitar and subsequent arrangements and Gold Standard musicianship from his trio is never once called into question. Now turning our attention over to Kehati as for his playing abilities - he's quite impressive indeed. His playing style is in the vein of Pat Metheny, John Abercrombie, John McLaughlin, John Scofield.  Ralph Tower, Jim Hall and Alan Holdsworth. Kehati showcases some amazing solo work, an expensive chord vocabulary meshed against a superb writing and arranging skill set. He has an amazing feel and touch behind the freeboard and his ultra "round down" conservative instincts within the sonic space are brilliant. Expect no over the top showboating here – just eloquent and masterful playing across the board. I especially like how his guitar sort of flutters melodically with the music perfectly. The mix and all engineering aspects check out with thick low end frequencies and crystal clear high end clarity. This latest CD from Assaf Kehati delivers 9 compelling tracks all providing an interesting snapshot music that is both clairvoyant, spiritual and free. All songs deliver thought provoking wisdom with messages that are positive, passionate and extremely captivating. From invigorating “Beneath the Almond Tree” to heartfelt "Someday My Prince Will Come" to full tilt groove "The Horse's Fight" to dynamic "When Will the Blues Leave" to hypnotic "Nathan Bo Rega" this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with track 9 “Outro” perfect wrap for a World Class Jazz catalogue like this.


I typically write my criticisms in this paragraph – as you can see I don’t have much to report. I did however notice within the liner notes all the Engineering was handled by one individual (Recording, Mixing, Mastering). Typically you want each phase of Post Production handled by a separate professional altogether. This approach will give your production the broadest perspective handed by 3 separate sets of ears. It might not be the quickest, most cost effective or convenient but based on my experience this the best way for your sound to reach it's maximum potential. (speaker to ear).


From start to finish “Naked” by the Assaf Kehati Trio is an impressive catalogue of music any way you slice it. It's inspirational, masterful and just a joy to listen to when there’s nothing serious on your agenda. Just hit play and see where the journey takes you. The music is very consistent, well-crafted and extremely enterertaining. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalogue. The production strokes: writing and playing abilities are world class.  The conservative, sometimes earthy melodies via dynamic movements are well crafted. The whole CD is packed to the hilt with rich conventional wisdom and a strong spiritual magnetism that will gravitate many. "Naked" by The Assaf Kehati Trio is 100% real with no smoke and mirrors anywhere to be found. It’s pure, it’s genuine, it’s "Naked."

Cyrus Rhodes

Cyrus Rhodes