«Mémé» is the debut album of Israeli jazz guitarist Amir Weiss, a disciple of German guitarist Frank Möbus. The album reflects the time Weiss spent at Weimar, Germany, while studying with Möbus, and his impressions of Béla Bartók music, Bauhaus design school, loneliness, and the complex creative process as well as his thoughts about streptococcus infections. Likewise, his music offers many twists and turns between modern jazz, rock and free improvisation.
Weiss leads his own quartet that began working in 2011 – tenor sax player Eyal Netzer on Saxophone, double bass player Orr Sinay and drummer Adam Cohen. «Mémé» was recorded at Bardo’s Studios in Tel Aviv in July 2018. The seven pieces offer Weiss inner musical tension. On one hand, Weiss follows the classic jazz format of head-solo-head, but on the other hand, his best moments are when he rebels against the jazz legacy and subverts its familiar narratives with wild, noisy and distorted disruptions.
When the dynamics of Weiss quartet become energetic and intense, he allows himself to color his playing with elements of art-rock and post-rock and West-African rhythmic scales and to offer surprising, ironic twists. The best pieces here are «Rosh Balata» (brick head in Hebrew, slang for a stupid), where Weiss goes totally wild with his guitar pyrotechnics and forces his quartet to follow him; «Frank», most likely a tribute to the multifaceted and hyperactive playing of Möbus; and the call-and-response Ali Farka Touré-tinged soulful and breezy blues «Peace of Mind».
Amir Weiss (g), Eyal Netzer (ts), Orr Sinay (b), Adam Cohen (dr)