I received a disc in the mail recently from Israeli-born guitarist Assaf Kehati called Naked, a nine song recording that includes bassist Ehud Ettun and drummer Ronen Itzik. It has grown on me to the point of not being able to remove it from my CD player (other than to carry it to my car so I can hear it while driving).
This is the New York-based guitarist’s third album, but it is my introduction to his music. The disc is anchored by the title track, which showcases Kehati’s introspective, delicately flavored aesthetic. Kehati writes that this piece “was relating to the feeling of being emotionally naked — with no barriers, limits or masks.” While there is plenty of evidence of Kehati’s ability to swing (his attack on Jerome Kern’s “Long Ago and Far Away” is particularly rewarding), it is his emotional language that I find most effective — and it is reflected throughout the album, and in particular on the disc’s sentimental “Song For Saba,” a piece written within a short time of his beloved grandfather’s passing. This is a serious player, and fans of the guitar (from Burrell and Hall to Metheny and Rosenwinkel) will find something to be impressed by.
To check out his music for yourself, click on the Youtube link below for a live performance view of “Naked.” For more information on Kehati, visit his website by clicking here.