Hasidic New Wave specialize in an amalgam of folk/traditional music from various Middle Eastern/Hebraic traditions with jazz (and a bit of rock) both earth-bound and avant-garde. Greg Wall plays a hearty tenor saxophone in the John Coltrane/Wayne Shorter vein (with a touches of Don Byas and Ben Webster); Frank London plays wondrous trumpet that carries echoes of ancient cantorial singing as well as Lee Morgan; Dave "Fuse" Fiuczynski can play subtle Gypsy/Rom rhythmic guitar as well as blistering, Jimi Hendrix/Elliott Sharp-style leads; Fima Ephron and Aaron Alexander are a mutable yet compelling bass and drummer team, respectively. On their latest platter From The Belly Of Abraham, HNW join forces with Yakar Rhythms, a group of percussionists from Senegal, for an album that might have been titled "Abe's Orgy Of Rhythm" or "Abraham's Belly's Boogie." Plenty of hot, ebullient polyrhythms mix with languid, sensuous lyricism and judicious yet passionate solos, as HNW pays tribute to the classic 60s Blue Note (modal) sound ("Dakar Dawn," "Spirit Of Jew-Jew") - be clear on this: it's an evocation, not imitation. Imagine what the Santana crew might sound like playing the blues if they'd grown up in Marrakech or Tel Aviv ("Yemin HaShem").
HNW/YR blend melancholy post-bop to intense New Orleans and West African rhythms ("The Sacred Line"), where "the Fuse" gets to shine with a smoldering, tantalizingly restrained solo. My only complaint is there are times ("Frydginator") when the Yakar posse sound a wee bit over-enthusiastic and superfluous, like they're playing along-side rather than with HNW - but fortunately those moments are few. And unlike some world music fusion outfits, HNW is free of solemn self-importance. Very, very good stuff - break out the pita and babaganogh and slap Belly into your sound system for a nifty cross-cultural Instant Party!