Anat Fort's And If

The Israeli pianist Anat Fort’s second CD, And If (on the ECM label), is an album that I like a lot, though it’s hard to explain why or even to describe. Her music is rhapsodic but spare, tender but propulsive, flush with melodic hooks that loop in sinuous, unpredictable shapes.

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.

Simon Wilson's picture

Yes, this trio should make more albums. They just played a blinding show here in Edmonton.

Tony T.'s picture

Beautiful, compelling music from the label. Another excellent recording.