Itamar Erez And The Adama Ensemble - Desert SongThe music of Adama is exploring the boundaries of classical, contemporary jazz and world music, composition and improvisation. Influenced by such musicians as Anouar Brahem, Egberto Gismonti and others, Adama is creating an exciting and original material, rich with Middle-Eastern and Flamenco sounds, unusual melodies, and complex rhythms...
|Adama’s music is a fusion, and a mirror of our multicultural origins and influences. The members of Adama are originally from Israel and Canada, all with very broad musical interests and experience. 'Adama' means 'Earth' in Hebrew. The members of Adama are: Itamar Erez (guitars/piano/composition), Tony Nickels (reeds), Laurence Mollerup (bass) and Stefan Cihelka (tabla).|
"...Vancouver's fertile music scene became that much richer with the release of this disc by relatively unknown guitarist-composer Itamar Erez.
His Adama Ensemble resembles another fine West Coast quartet that emerged in the 1970s, Oregon, both in instrumentation (acoustic guitar, reeds, bass and percussion) and in approach. Erez writes music that incorporates the breadth of world music and the improvisation of jazz.
So on the one hand, you have the title track, on which Tony Nickels's bass clarinet, Erez's acoustic guitar and Stefan Cihelka's frame drum and tambourine create a hypnotic North African dreamscape. On the other hand, you have The Return, a swirling track which oboe (Nickels) and guitar (Erez) create rise-and-fall dynamics. No hypnotism here; the musicians demand your attention.
As a composer, Erez creates beautiful melodies arranged so that each musician (bassist Laurence Molerup is the group's other member) can evolve individually and collectively within the framework of each song.
Nickels, who plays oboe, English horn, flute and bass clarinet, and Erez complement one another the way Oregon's Paul McCandless and Ralph Towner used to, and Molerup and Cihelka colour the rhythmic canvas with multiple hues..."
(Marke Andrews, The Vancouver Sun, Dec 14th, 2006)
'...Itamar Erez is a well educated young composer who writes for films, dance and theater. Aside from this impressive resume, he explores the music of the Middle East and Spain in his own Canadian Adama (in Hebrew meaning earth) Ensemble, founded in '02...
Erez brings to all these influences his broad musical experience, and turns them into fresh statements. His music acknowledges, and sometimes mirrors, past inspirations, but at the same time he's keen to develop his own interpretations of existing musical heritages...'
(Eyal Hareuveni, 'All About Jazz', July 17, 2006)
“...Just when you think you have heard everything, someone records something that proves you haven’t.
That proof comes in the form of a unique CD by Itamar Erez and the Adama Ensemble. Itamar, in my estimation is a great composer and arranger who, in this case has come up with eleven exceptional and original compositions played by him, three other musicians and guests...The compositions at times have a spacey, calm and very free feeling and at other times they get fast and frantic. They are all extremely interesting and musical and the music moves smoothly and naturally thru many time changes.
Guitarists should buy this CD just to hear Itamar perform a “jaw dropping” acoustic guitar solo piece called “Isidore”. What a great CD...”
(Bob Hales, ‘UpBeat’ newsletter, Winter 2006)
"Israeli-born guitarist and pianist Itamar Erez wrote the soundtrack for one of the more controversial offerings at Vancouver International Film Festival. “Raised to Be Heroes” is a 40-minute National Film Board documentary about the growing number of soldiers in the Israeli army who refuse to fight in operations in the Gaza Strip and on the West Bank"... 'The NFB licensed several of the tracks from Desert Song, the debut album by my quartet Adama, as well as commissioning new pieces that also have a Middle Eastern flavour..."
(Tony Montague, The Georgia Straight, Sept 28th, 2006- for complete article please go Here
"Itamar Erez started as a composer of contemporary classical music. Though he played guitar and piano, he mostly left it to others to perform what he wrote. But shortly after his move from Israel to Vancouver in 1997, the familiar sources of inspiration dried up. He turned inward, dug into his psyche, and found the roots of his creative imagination. And in that process he rediscovered jazz, as well as the guitar that he’d abandoned.
“I had played in a jazz trio, but after I decided to concentrate on composition I stopped playing guitar for around eight years,” says Erez, interviewed at a Commercial Drive cafe. “Writing for other people removes you from your own music. Coming back to the guitar, and to performing, was very joyous. I started improvising, and the things that came out were more Middle Eastern sounds and rhythms.”
Three years ago Erez formed the Adama Ensemble with Tony Nickels on reeds, Laurence Mollerup on standup bass, and Stefan Cihelka on tablas and percussion. The combination of tablas and the oboe—Nickels’s main instrument—gives the group a unique sound.
Erez’s compositions for Adama blend various kinds of Mediterranean music with elements of jazz and classical music. On the ensemble’s excellent debut, Desert Song, released earlier this year, the genres and influences are cleverly intertwined.
For their concert at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on Monday (December 18), Erez and the Adama Ensemble will be joined by Nick Apivor on vibraphone and marimba. The range of musical textures and colours should be intriguing.
Erez has become particularly drawn to flamenco’s fiery blend of Jewish, Roma, and Arabic traditions. He took up playing guitar in that style four years ago, inspired by a Vicente Amigo concert. “His performance was a total shock for me. I didn’t believe it was possible to play guitar like that. It takes great physical strength.”
The past two summers, Erez travelled to Spain to study with flamenco legend Gerardo Nunez. And while he was in Andalusia, his career took an exciting turn after he met another guitar master, Brazilian jazz legend Egberto Gismonti..."
(Tony Montague, The Georgia Straight, Dec 14th, 2006).
Itamar Erez and the ADAMA ensemble "DESERT SONG"
"Musical fusion, or “East meets West”, is the best way to describe this relatively new Vancouver-based group and its first CD, “Desert Song”. All tracks (except one which is a traditional Jewish song) are composed and arranged by the group’s leader, Israeli-born Canadian Itamar Erez. Erez, who has come to world music from a background in Western classical music, trained as a composer, guitarist and pianist in his native Israel as well as in Europe. The other main influences on his music are from jazz, flamenco, the Middle East and India. As the composer on this CD, Erez gracefully blends these different sounds and traditions into eleven quite beautiful and distinct pieces... an unusual quality and character...
We hear some very fine and moving instrumental playing...
(A. Sanger, 'The Whole Note' Magazine, Sept 2006)
"Shortly after moving to Vancouver from Israel in 1997, composer Itamar Erez hit a wall. It wasn't just the impact of the radical change in culture and climate. The contemporary classical tradition in which Erez had been immersed since his teens no longer sparked his creativity..."
(Tony Montague, The Globe and Mail, June 10, 2005)
'Itamar Erez Trio enables vast opportunities for each member of the group, with rich and intimate music.'
(The Red Sea Jazz Festival, Eilat, Israel, Aug 1989)
'The Single Movement Concerto for 13 Instruments by Itamar Erez (Israel) drew one in with its personality, its teeming big-canvas sweep, color, and incident - a composer to watch!'
(The Boston Globe, Oct 18th 2000)
Itamar Erez and the ADAMA ensemble "morning song"
Itamar Erez (guitars/piano)
Tony Nickels (reeds)
Laurence Mollerup (bass)
Stefan Cihelka (tabla & percussion)