Great musicians possess confidence, but are able to relinquish their egos. Last night, I went to see Rashanim at Rose Live in Brooklyn. They were performing songs from their upcoming album (yet to be recorded). The evening was a test run of sorts.

Comprised of bass, drums, and guitar, they perform instrumentals. How would I describe their music? Take a listen for yourself and decide. There have been a number of responses when I have played it for other people. “Sounds great.” “Sounds Jewish.” “Kinda’ folksy, isn’t it?” “What would you call this?” They utilize elements of folk, rock, surf, funk, jazz, and more. Nevertheless, they maintain a sound that is uniquely their own.

I’ve been a big fan since their first album, so much so that I try to listen to other projects that the members have been a part of, and I have yet to be disappointed. Their projects have been as varied as the influences I hear in each of their songs. Those projects have ranged from film scores to hip-hop albums, and more.

The songs have a general jazz format. There is a theme or two, a melody, and each musician will improvise or solo over the changes. While guitar is generally seen as the dominant instrument in a trio of this sort, the interplay between each is marvelous to hear. When one is soloing, no one else feels the need to intrude. No one person screams, “Look at me,” and the result is a sweet delicate interplay of notes and rhythms.

The other great detail is their attention to volume. They push some air, but are generally pretty quiet. It’s the kind of show that you don’t need earplugs to enjoy. It allows the musicians to bring out subtle nuances from each instrument. At one point, the drummer was utilizing his music stand as a instrument. Would that be possible if competing with a stack of blaring amplifiers? Wonderful volume swells and dips punctuate each song.

I’ve seen Rashanim three times, and this was one of the best. I eagerly await the release of their next album.

Additional Links:
Jon Madof
Mathias Kunzli
Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz’s misspelled biography on Clean Feed Records