Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Jazz Singer's Return to Faith

Fink Like his earlier recording Lokshen, Enrico Fink has created a record that is a true treasure trove of information about the Jewish experience in Italy. On Il Ritorno alla Fede del Cantante di Jazz (The Jazz Singer's Return to Faith), the premise is to take the Jewish liturgical tradition in Italy (and in particular in Ferrara and Firenze) and distill it through Fink's experiences. The result is a fascinating work that can be highly traditional ("El male rachamim") or highly modern ("Lo Amut"). It inhabits the same spiritual ground as Robbie Robertson's soundtrack for "The Native Americans" (especially on "Eliyahu" with its dialog between the child singer and Fink), another work of passion for a culture endangered, as well as things like Hector Zazou's Songs from the Cold Seas, Tom Waits, U2 circa The Joshua Tree, cantor music and jazz, all of which come in and out of focus throughout this record creating a polymorphic work that is both contemporary and timeless, the effort behind it evident but not crushing.

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