Posted on review of “Next page”…

New York-based guitarist Yotam Silberstein may not be a house hold name in jazz at the moment, but he certainly has become one of the busiest jazz guitarist in New York’s vibrant jazz scene and his first release for the Posi-Tone label, “Next Page” brings a tasty fresh new sound guaranteed to capture your attention. At the age of 21, Israeli-born Silberstein was named the “Israeli jazz player of the year” in 2003, the same year he also released his debut recording “The Arrival” (Fresh Sound Records) marking his arrival as a full fledged member of the jazz world. This album builds upon that first offering turning a ‘new’ page in this young man’s career with a vigorous outing on “Next Page.”

Performing with a quartet comprised of Sam Yahel on the organ, Willie Jones III on the drums and the versatile Chris Cheek on tenor saxophone, the guitarist presents a blend of originals and standards in a ten piece repertoire containing some familiar yet not oft played songs like the Lerner/Loewe “Camelot” classic, “If Ever I Would Leave You,” which are given bri sk new reads resulting in some pretty spectacular musical transformations. With soft organ play from Yahel and the drummer on the brushes, Silberstein delivers gentle chords on the lush Antonio Carlos Jobim score “Ligia” while in stark contrast, Cheek blisters the music with a sax solo leading the band on a boppish romp through Charlie Parker’s “Cheryl” which Silberstein rides with excellent riffs.

Cheek is just magnificent throughout the album starting on “Foolin’ Myself” where the organist provides the meat of music, but the saxophonist weighs in on such other tunes as “Cancao,” “Weekend in Mizpe” and “Jalastra.” But this is not Cheek’s album, it’s Silberstein show and the guitarist makes sure of that with plenty of pronounced play.

Without a doubt, Yotam Silberstein’s “Next Page” is quite an exceptional recording containing all the elements that must be present for a successful recording, excellent charts, great musicianship and an infectious new sound.

Year: 2009
Label: Posi-Tone Records
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Yotam Silberstein, Next Page (CD review)

Yotam Silberstein, Next Page (Posi-Tone Records)

In 2003, at age 21, Israeli-born guitarist Yotam Silberstein released his debut album on the Fresh Sound label, and aptly titled it The Arrival; the recording’s success opened the door to steady touring throughout Europe and the Middle East.

After six years, studies at the New School, and scores of New York gigs with high-profile leaders, Silberstein is back with an even more impressive second CD, dominated by his own inspired compositions. The guitarist is joined by players who come off as perfectly matched, in tone and musical temperament – B3 organist Sam Yahel, drummer Willie Jones and, on some tracks, tenor saxophonist Chris Cheek.

The group leads off with the bluesy sound, churning swing and eminently catchy hooks of Silberstein’s “Borsht,” but he writes in other veins, too.

“Cancao” is an exceedingly pretty ballad, voiced by Cheek; “Blues for 007″ hints at the Bond movie theme before moving into a sprightly melody and the guitarist’s playful, exuberant improvisation, echoed by Yahel’s extended solo. The laidback “Weekend in Mizpe,” also led by Cheek, is soaked in melancholy.

Middle Eastern melodies and rhythms come into play on Cospi’s “Ani Eshtagea.” And outside composers provide conduits to other directions, too, with the uptempo bebop of Charlie Parker’s “Cheryl,” benefiting from a chorus-trading exchange between Yahel and Cheek, and a mellow, burnished take on Jobim’s “Ligia.”

Given Silberstein’s myriad strengths as a player and his compositional muscle, it would be surprising if he doesn’t find a place in the front ranks of today’s young jazz guitarists.


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Take Five With Yotam Silberstein

Meet Yotam Silberstein:
Yotam Silberstein was born and raised in Tel-Aviv, Israel. He started playing guitar at the age of 10, focusing mostly on rock and blues.

At the age of 15 Yotam was accepted to the prestigious Alon high school for the arts where he studied jazz with such great teachers as Walter Blanding and Amit Golan. During his high school years Yotam won many local competitions and was heralded as a very promising young guitarist.

After finishing high school he relocated to New York City performing regularly and studying with jazz greats Barry Harris and Kurt Rosenwinkel.

At the age of 18, Yotam served his country by joining the IDF (Israel’s Army) where he served as a musical director, arranger and lead guitarist for 3 years. During his military service he gained recognition and began playing with many of Israel’s top jazz musicians

At 21 Yotam won the prestigious “Israeli jazz player of the year” competition with his trio, and was asked to perform in Italy at the renowned Umbria Jazz Festival.

The same year Yotam released his debut record on the Fresh Sound New Talent record label called, The Arrival. The success of his highly acclaimed album enabled him to extensively tour throughout Europe and the Middle East.

In August of 2005 Yotam received a scholarship to study at the New School for jazz and contemporary music in New York City. Yotam is a regular on the jazz scene performing in many of the city’s great venues with great artists like: James Moody, Curtis Fuller, Louis Hayes, Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Junior Mance, James Spaulding, Roy Hargrove, Pat Martino, Jorge Rossy, John Faddis, Greg Hutchinson, Antonio Hart, Slide Hampton, Avishai Cohen, Kenny Barron, Peter Bernstein, to name a few.

In September of 2005 Yotam was selected as one of 10 top guitar players to participate in the semi finals of the distinguished Thelonious Monk guitar competition.

In 2009 Yotam released his new album Next Page on Posi-Tone Records, featuring Chris Cheek on saxophone, Sam Yahel on Hammond B3 and Willie Jones III on drums.




Teachers and/or influences?
J.S Bach, Charlie Parker, Chico Buarque, James Moody, BB King, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stevie Wonder, Keith Jarrett, Clare Fischer, Joao Gilberto, Guinga, Sonny Rollins, Chopin, Herbie Hancock, Maurice Ravel, Matti Caspi, Ryiad Al Sunbaty, Sasha Argov, Shlomo Artzi, Astor Piazzolla.


I knew I wanted to be a musician when…
I got my first guitar and started playing around with it. It all seemed so magical. Since then I’ve been unable to stop.


Your teaching approach:
It must be fun. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it.


Your dream band:
I really want to play with Stevie Wonder.


Favorite venue:
Playing in different venues in Russia has always been a very pleasant experience. People there are very appreciative of music and art. Also, playing in Israel, my homeland, is always special for me.


Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
I definitely feel very connected to my new album, Next Step, because it represents where I am now, and the band sounds great.


The first Jazz album I bought was:
Grant Green, Grantstand (Blue Note). I still love this record so much.


What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
That’s for others to say.


CDs you are listening to now:
Albert King, Born Under a Bad Sign;
Chico Buarque, Uma Palavra;
Django Reinhardt, Classic Early Recordings;
Eddie Harris, With Jimmy Smith;
Farid El Atrache, King of the Oud.


Desert Island picks:
Changes all the time:
Antonio Carlos Jobim, Inedito;
Riyad Al Sunbaty, Ashwaq;
Sonny Rollins, A Night at the Village Vanguard;
Chico Buarque, Paratodos;
BB King and Bobby Bland, Together.


What is in the near future?
Working on a new record, performing with my band. I’m featured on a new recording to be released soon with the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni Big Band.


By Day:
Practicing, composing, gigging, reading, yoga, listening to music, cooking, watching movies, hanging out with friends, and mostly trying to figure out how to be a better musician/person.