is no fright-inducing cello, and no blood-curdling screams. Just an
easy-going rhythm, underscoring a charming flute lead. Such is the title
song to Itai Kriss’ recording debut, The Shark (Avenue K Records,
The cool theme opens a nine-song set, all composed by Kriss except for
“The Shark,” which was written by Jack Glottman. The flutist is
accompanied by Aaron Goldberg on piano, Omar Avial on bass and Eric
McPherson on drums. Trumpeter Avishai Cohen appears on two tracks, and
tenor saxophonist John Ellis sits in for one song.
“Kamuvan” is a delightful piece that features Ellis and Kriss in a duet
lead. Like much of the music on this recording, the song has a hard-bop
groove. Other tracks mix in some Caribbean and funky styles.
One of the tracks that feature Cohen is “Four by Four,” a piece that has a
touch of avant-garde in that the opening sequence has all the players,
seemingly playing from a different sheet of music but in synch. After a
brief melodic period, the song reverts to free form. Trumpet and flute
play the same notes during some phrases, and play off each other during
others. For their middle solos, Cohen’s trumpet is bouncy and Kriss’ flute
flits about like a musical butterfly.
Kriss was born in Israel to a British father and South African mother. He
began playing flute at the age of 9. He honed his craft at the Tel Aviv
School for the Arts and Telma Yellin High School for the Arts. In 2008, he
participated in Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead residency program for emerging
performers and composers at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing
Arts. During that time, he wrote and performed new songs, some of which
appear on The Shark.