Enrico Fink - Il Ritorno alla Fede del Cantante di Jazz
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cd cover Enrico Fink
Il Ritorno alla Fede del Cantante di Jazz
Materiali Sonori (www.matson.it)

Like his earlier recording Lokshen, Enrico Fink has created a record that is a true treasure trove of information about the Jewish experience in Italy. On 'The Jazz Singer's Return to Faith' the premise is to take the Jewish liturgical tradition in Italy (and in particular in Ferrara and Firenze) and distill it through Fink's experiences. The result is a fascinating work that can be highly traditional ("El male rachamim") or highly modern ("Lo Amut"). It inhabits the same spiritual ground as Robbie Robertson's soundtrack for "The Native Americans" (especially on "Eliyahu" with its dialog between the child singer and Fink), another work of passion for a culture endangered, as well as things like Hector Zazou's Songs from the Cold Seas, Tom Waits, U2 circa The Joshua Tree, cantor music and jazz, all of which come in and out of focus throughout this record creating a polymorphic work that is both contemporary and timeless, the effort behind it evident but not crushing.

One of the highlights of the record is the way it deals with all the background material used to create this work. The multimedia part of the record, as well as the relevant websites, provides further insights into this culture. It is almost like a second record, what usually these days in the pop record business goes into the ubiquitous but blunt and unnecessary DVD. In multimedia form, however, hyperlinks can be followed and a journey created. Among the fascinating bits existing in this part of the record are archive versions of some of the tracks, like "Lo Amut", sung by the chief rabbi of Firenze in the Fifties, in a version full of dignity, memories and the need to save what was almost destroyed. Live versions and videos of an acoustic set also provide further insights into the method of Fink and his work.

It is astounding how Fink could follow a record as complex as Lokshen with The Jazz Singer's Return…, a work that could have easily been the achievement of a lifetime for someone else. His is a body of work that is beyond characterization. It is a research work, a historical record, a trip down memory lane, a cultural crie de guerre. It can take a long time to unravel in its totality, each time revealing a different note, a different electronic squirt, a new intonation. Although the material is weighty, the record itself isn't, providing a thoughtful listening experience that is enlightening, mesmerizing and cleansing, and in this way, highly entertaining. - Nondas Kitsos

The artist's web site: www.enricofink.com

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