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SHESHET

Sheshet

 

Eclectic Prog

4.35 | 41 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ProgressiveAttic
5 stars Israel presents a very interesting and varied progressive rock scene specially during the 70's and 80's and a remarkable classic rock and folk variety of very talented artists (including Matti Caspi, Yehudith Ravitz, Arik Einstein, etc). One of the major exponents of these musical tendencies (yes, all of them +jazz) is Shem-Tov Levi with his characteristic flute and skilled piano playing accompanied by his very competent singing. Prog-wise Levi is one of the epicenters of the Israeli branch being part of projects such as Ktzat Acheret, Tzlil Mechuvan, The Family Album (with Schlomo Gronich) and in 1976 decided to form a new group: Sheshet. For this he teamed with one of the most beautiful voices in music (specifically israeli folk and pop), Yehudith Ravitz.

Levi and Ravitz have always surrounded themselves with very talented artists (being the duets Levi-Gronich and Rechter-Ravitz very enjoyable and progy) , this is no exception since for this album they recruited a group of brilliant artists of rock (Aroch played with Arik Einstein and Shalom Hanoch on israeli rock cornerstone album/rock opera Shablool) and jazz (being Renert a very respected jazz pianist) backgrounds. So what you would expect here is an amazing fusion album (lots of Chick Corea influences) with hints of Gentle Giant (it seems that every israeli band of the era was influenced by the Shulman brothers and co.) and somewhat of a Canterbury atmosphere (the israeli scene has lots of humor and craziness + some tendencies towards a jazzy sound).

When the band was founded they had many troubles getting gigs which is the main reason of their short existence, but an executive of a recording company convinced them to reunite and record the album (thanks god they agreed) which you can still find in most israeli record stores...

Now the song by song review (beware...spoilers...):

Clappers: the album starts by showcasing the abilities of the instrumental band with a jazzy jam featuring a combination of bass, drums, piano, flute and electric guitar followed by a section headed by vocals to develop into a two minute instrumental jam and finish with more beautiful singing. Very complex writing and more than competent playing. 5/5

Colours: the first of many instrumentals. Focused on the piano, the supporting rhythm section is very competent and the flute accompaniment and soloing makes it very enjoyable. 4.5/5

Left Foot Samba: is a must for latin/brazilian jazz/fusion (and Matti Caspi) fans, written by singer (and co-founder) Yehudith Ravitz showing that besides of being a fantastic vocalist she is a very skilled composer (+ the lyrics are fun and well written). Fun song with an amazing flute performance (I'll be saying this a lot because Levi's flute is just magical) but too short of length (3:31 only)... 4.75/5

7/8: as the title announces it has a 7/8 time signature (which is a good sign for us prog nuts), showing the desire of making different and more complex music, the highlights are the rhodes piano, the somewhat odd flute playing, the rhythm section (jazz players would kill for one like this) and the piano that suddenly breaks into the music in several sections with great improvs + Levi's and Ravitz's vocalizations (no lyrics) get a special mention. Highly enjoyable and a bit weird (for prog fans this is completely normal!) tune. 5/5

If Only You Have Come: a sad ballad singed by Levi accompanied by an acoustic piano (with a rhodes intro) with some flute, electric guitar and bass moments. Nice but short prog ballad. 4/5

Autumn Nights: one of my all time favorite songs mainly due to Ravitz's vocals (which are somewhat unusual) and Levi's beautiful flute. It continues in the mood of the previous song with a sad ballad, the guitar licks and the rhythm section deserve an honorable mention. If you liked Ktzat Acheret you are going to love this one! 5/5

Debka: it builds up from a traditional arab tune (Debka dance, as the title announced) performed by Levi in flute and singed by him and the rest of the band (no lyrics), then it turns into a more upbeat rock improv and lots of Jazz with unusual elements and soloing by each member (including vocal). The drums shine with the piano, guitar and flute. 4.75/5

Dinosaurus Jr.: This is for Ktzat Acheret nostalgia... A rock instrumental song led by Levi's beautiful flute (I cannot get tired of it) featuring a very nice melody and filled with lots of jamming. 4.5/5

F Minor: closes the album in a very calmed way and (similarly to 7/8) the title announces the key in which the song is written. F Minor is an instrumental dominated by the flute, piano and rhythm section and it has to end with the wordless vocalizations of Ravitz and Levi. 4.75/5

Highlights? The flute (of course), Ravitz's voice, the piano, the rhythm section, the guitar... what can I say? the entire band!!!

Total: 4.69

This is a no-brainer an absolute prog classic, masterpiece and cornerstone of the amazing and somewhat forgotten Israeli prog/rock/jazz scene....

If you like Chick Corea, Canterbury scene prog, Middle-eastern, Gentle Giant, Yehudith Ravitz, Shem-Tov Levi, Ktzat Acheret and/or israeli music in general this is for you...

ProgressiveAttic | 5/5 |

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