The band will be featuring music from their new CD, This is the Afro-Semitic Experience(released on April 5) along with music from their previous two albums, Let Us Break Bread Together (2000) and Avadim Hayinu: Once We Were Slaves. This is the Afro-Semitic Experience (1998). Ari Davidow from Klezmershack.com calls the new CD "compelling", and that Chevan and Byrd are "using jazz to bring out the commonality of spirituality in music from two traditions, and then some. The result is excellent, sometimes danceable, always listenable and warming music." Mark Corroto writes, "Chevan and Byrd 's music is more Mingus than Masada, more Rahsaan Roland Kirk than Klezmer. Like the aforementioned Mingus and Kirk, their music (certainly "jazz," if anyone will allow me to use that word) is more than the sum of its parts." His review can be found at www.allaboutjazz.com
The Afro-Semitic Experience is dedicated to preserving, promoting and expanding the rich cultural and musical heritage of the Jewish and African diaspora. Imagine a band that understands and can present interpretations of music from traditions as rich as Gospel, Klezmer, Nigunim, Spirituals, and Swing and you have the Afro-Semitic Experience. This is a group that is as comfortable playing a freylakh as they are swinging a blues, that knows how to play either a bulgar or some funk. Multi-cultural soul. The band began performing in late 1999 as an off-shoot of the creative work of African-American pianist Warren Byrd and Jewish-American bassist David Chevan. This album represents a continuation of the work of Chevan and Byrd, but it also marks the first chapter in the story of an exciting new band.
The Afro-Semitic Experience includes:
Will Bartlett--tenor sax, clarinet, and piccolo
Alvin Carter, Jr.--drums and percussion
Baba David Coleman--percussion
Stacy Phillips--lap steel guitar, violin, and Harlow resonator guitar
George Robinson of the Jewish Voice described Chevan and Byrd's 2000 album, Let Us Break Bread Together, as "Communication on the most elemental level and yet, at the same time, the most elevated". John Barrett of www.JazzUSA.com wrote that"This sound, the common experience of two peoples, has a message -and beauty- for all people" and the French Jazz Magazine, Le Jazz Hot summed up the album in three words, "Bref, c'est beau."