Anat Fort's And If
Her first recording, A Long Story (1997, also on ECM), was more intriguing than fully satisfying. The trio tracks (with Paul Motian on drums and Ed Schuller on bass) had a bracing quality with a slight Sephardic lilt; the other tracks (the trio plus Perry Robinson on reeds) were a bit doodly.
And If features Fort’s longstanding trio-mates, Gary Wong on bass and Roland Schneider on drums, and it’s a more coherent affair. Her own playing flows more seamlessly (though it’s not at all “smooth”), and the ensemble moves in and out of synch with a surefootedness that hasn’t lost a speck of adventurousness.
There’s a wry quality to the music, as reflected in some of the song titles (“If,” “En If,” “Nu,” [Yiddish for “Well?”], “Something ‘bout Camels”), all written by her.
This trio has been playing in New York for nearly 10 years. They should make more albums.
The sound quality is crystal clear, like most of the work from this label.