Eyal Maoz & Asaf Sirkis - Elementary Dialogues

Robert Iannapollo, Cadence Magazine

Guitarist EYAL MAOZ and drummer ASAF SIRKIS are two Israeli musicians who worked together in their native country. Maoz emigrated to New York and Sirkis to London but they kept in touch and abreast of each other’s development. In January 2006, Maoz went to London and they recorded ELEMENTARY DIALOGUES (Ayler 104), this duet session.
Despite the limited instrumentation, there’s a lot of variety, both texturally and musically. Like most contemporary guitarists, Maoz has a lot of effects and uses them well. There are a lot of abrasive sounds coming from him. But just when you think you have his style pegged, he throws a curve such as the Middle Eastern modality on “Duo,” delivered in a clear, gentle tone. “Kashmir” (not the Led Zeppelin tune) is a playful interlude; “Miniature,” a gorgeous four minutes of guitar with a lilting melody. Sirkis is a versatile drummer.
He can pound out aggressive Rock rhythms with skill but when the music breaks into Free territory is when his artful percussion work really comes to the fore. Nothing here is too lengthy and the duo has a good sense of self-editing. (These sound like complete tracks, not excerpts from longer improvs.) This makes me want to hear what these two sound like in larger group contexts.

Although it may not instantly appeal to more conservative listeners, I'd urge them to open their minds and give this album a good listen or two at least. Elementary Dialogues is a compelling album presenting a great variety of soundscapes and is always full of the unexpected and surprising. Even lyrical beauty finds a place here, particularly in Miniature.

Its invention and inventiveness, superlative playing, and great intimacy and immediacy further distinguish Eyal Maoz & Asaf Sirkis' Elementary Dialogues and surely make it essential in any good modern jazz and jazz guitar collection at the least. Thoroughly refreshing and enjoyable.