Itamar Erez & Hamin Honari: Migrant Voices

Unity duo recorded by David Sikula at Monarch: Erez on plucked strings, Honari on percussion

Itamar Erez & Hamin Honari: Migrant Voices

Itamar Erez and Hamin Honari's Migrant Voices is a unity duo recorded by David Sikula at Monarch Studios, not a jazz record but a Middle Eastern-influenced improvisation project. Erez, known for being a multi-instrumentalist and author of intricate compositions, plays in the jazz idiom with his quartet on piano and also some guitar. Here, he only plays the plucked strings, especially the nylon-string acoustic guitar. Honari, known for being a member of Gordon Grdina's Haram among other groups, plays percussion, hand drums, and some atmospheric cymbals as well.

The only formal composition is track two, and you can really tell, because track one is an improvisational-sounding piece. Then, the title track is structured with a singing melodic quality. There are heavier percussive hits on it, too.

The other tracks are all improvisations, yet they have memorable themes. "Embrace" is, appropriately, the most intimate moment: an unadorned dialogue between the two, led by Erez.

"Forgotten Sands" follows and gives the leadership of motion back to Honari. The nylon plays more in the low register, plus Erez plays bandola, like a mandolin or lute.

The short track "Mirage" continues the trend of on-point titles and takes out the short record like a fever dream. Done at just under 30 minutes: a tasteful, delicate project that left me wanting more. It's an interesting compliment to the music of Itamar Erez if you've heard his quartet or if you're going to hear it at the jazz festival. See also Erez's 2013 album New Dawn, another duo project but one that is more compositionally-oriented.

released Mar. 8, 2024 / Buy digital (Bandcamp) / available on streaming