Someone once postulated the jazz was the first "world music" - cultures and nationalities the world over have been attracted to it and while some have been benignly "assimilated" by it (bebop there = bebop here), others have put their own imprint on it, amalgamating jazz verities with "native" melodies and rhythms. On If, composer Myriam Alter expertly weaves a tapestry in which Argentine tango, Hebraic klezmer, and cool bebop are interwoven in equal measure. The melodies are sultry and deliciously melancholy, the swing refined and deeply heartfelt as the Modern Jazz Quartet, the playing superb. What’s more, the 10 pieces here are concise as the best short stories can and should be. The clarinet of John Ruocco is full-bodied and sonorous (with wee echoes of Brahms and Benny Goodman, even), Dino Saluzzi is an obvious heir to Astor Piazzolla and the dancer-like interplay between the two is a virtual ballet. Greg Cohen and Joey Baron can play like thunder in John Zorn’s Masada, but are sublimely elegant and restrained here, even when Baron brings New Orleans rhythms to "Moving Somewhere." Kenny Werner channels the spirit of Bill Evans - so sure, so quietly lyrical - dig the jazz waltz "I Think of It." To sum-up this disc simply: but beautiful.