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Rei, Sofia / JC Maillard

The Book Beri'ah Vol 1: Keter

Rei, Sofia / JC Maillard: The Book Beri'ah Vol 1: Keter (Tzadik)

With three percussionists--JC Maillard, Franco Pinna, and Thierry Aprino--Maillard also playing bass & stringed instruments, plus vocalist and frequent Zorn collaborator Sofia Rei, Zorn's series "The Book Beri'ah" presenting the final 92 compositions in his Masada series initiates with this compellingly beautiful and propulsive album of song.

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product information:

UPC: 702397510123

Label: Tzadik
Catalog ID: CD-TZA-5101
Squidco Product Code: 28241

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Sleeve Sealed
Recorded at "Shh...!" studio, living rooms, hotel rooms and basements, by the artists.


Sofia Rei-vocals, charanago

JC Maillard-Sazbass, Kiku, Charango, percussion

Franco Pinna-drums

Thierry Arpino-percussion

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Artist Biographies:

"Folklore and futurism, graceful elegance and raw passion, virtuosic precision and spontaneous exploration - all merge together in the music of award-winning vocalist, songwriter and producer Sofia Rei. Redefining authenticity from an intensely personal perspective, Rei has carried diverse Latin American traditions from her native Buenos Aires to the multi-cultural mecca of New York City, where she's fused those sounds with jazz, classical, pop, and electronic music influences to forge a singular and ever-evolving sound.

With a voice that's been hailed for its captivating beauty and versatility by such prestigious publications as the New York Times and DownBeat Magazine, Rei's talents fit comfortably into any number of genres. Her restless curiosity, however, makes her uncomfortable dwelling in any single category for very long. A self-described "frog from another pond," Rei's natural inclination is to leap, an instinct that has taken her on a circuitous route from early classical training and Argentinean folk music through the punk rock nightlife of Buenos Aires, into some of the most prestigious jazz venues in the U.S. and on to a wealth of festival stages around the world.

Along the way she's connected with like-minded innovators including John Zorn, Maria Schneider, Marc Ribot, Bobby McFerrin, Pedrito Martinez, John Medeski, Susana Baca, Guillermo Klein and countless others. Rei also continues to inspire a future generation of adventurous musicians through her educational efforts at such renowned institutions as New York University and Berklee College of Music. She's even shared a sip of mate, the traditional Argentinean tea, with a flirtatious Conan O'Brien from the window of her Greenwich Village apartment on an episode of his TBS talk show.

Rei's latest release, Keter (Tzadik), is a duo outing with frequent collaborator JC Maillard as part of John Zorn's Masada Book 3, the culmination of his 25-year Masada project. With Rei transforming her extraordinary voice through the use of electronics and Maillard playing the SazBass, a hybrid electroacoustic instrument combining elements of the Turkish saz, the Greek bouzouki and the electric guitar, the pairing finds echoes of the ancient in the urgency of the modern.

That tradition-spanning approach is central to Rei's artistic identity. In recent years she's increasingly incorporated looping and electronics into her performances, expanding the potential of the human voice into radical new territories. Her new project Umbral is a breathtakingly imaginative fusion of her broad spectrum of influences, devised during a soul-searching trek through Chile's stunning Elqui Valley. At the same time she continues to delve deeply into the folk musics of a number of South American countries, including Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and, naturally, Argentina. Discovering a profound connection between such musical traditions and the lifeblood of the cultures from which they spring, she's honed a fearless voice that remains deeply rooted while striving continually to stretch new branches into the unexplored.

Sofia started her professional career as a member of the Colon Theater Children's Choir at age 9. In high school she made her first leap, briefly rejecting the strictures of classical composition to bash out punk rock rhythms on a drumset in her parents' basement. She returned to formal training at Buenos Aires' National Conservatory of Music, intending to become an opera singer. While at the Conservatory, Rei found herself dividing her time between performing early music with Renaissance ensembles and premiering new works by contemporary composers - initiating a trend for straddling past and present that would mark her whole career. Her belated exposure to jazz led her to pursue the improvisatory music to Boston's New England Conservatory, where she formed relationships with many of the musicians who would become her closest collaborators, including bassist Jorge Roeder, pianist Leo Genovese, saxophonist Daniel Blake and percussionist Jorge Pérez-Albela. In 2005 Rei moved to New York City and embarked on enriching experiences with Bobby McFerrin and the Maria Schneider Orchestra.

Just as her music has sought inspiration from various corners of the globe, it has also allowed her to traverse the world to share it. Rei has toured Europe, North and South America singing at renowned international festivals and venues, from North America (Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Lincoln Center and the Village Vanguard in New York City, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., SFJAZZ in the Bay Area, the Chicago World Music Festival and the Montreal International Jazz Festival), to Central and South America (International Jazz en Lima Festival and International Cajón Festival in Peru, Teatro Sucre in Ecuador, Mexico City's Teatro de la Ciudad, Teatro Jorge Eliecer Gaitán in Colombia, Uruguay's Lapataia Jazz and World Music Festival, World Music Panama and Teatro Colón in Argentina), to Europe (Wien Konzerthaus and Glatt Und Verkehrt in Austria, Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Barbican in London, the Netherlands' North Sea Jazz, Festival Grec in Spain, Teatro Manzoni in Italy, Tom de Festa in Portugal) and beyond (Israel's Beit Avi Chai, the Festival Iberoamericano de las Artes in Puerto Rico).

Having carved a unique pathway through a wide range of styles and traditions, Rei is also dedicated to guiding others not to follow, but to find their own ways forward. After teaching at both NEC and Berklee, she is now a Professor at New York University's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, where she's helping students navigate the confluence of contemporary music, technology and business. She's also helped bring innovative voices to new audiences as producer and co-founder of two events, Berklee's Latin America Vive Music Festival and the NYC South American Music Festival, and as founder of El Colectivo Sur, an arts collective that aims to increase public awareness of South American music throughout the world and bring together diverse communities."

-Sofia Rei Website (

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JC Maillard: "It all began on this island awash in Caribbean vibration, waves of Carnival interspersed with the drum beat of skin on skin. The teenager looking across the ocean lets his headphones flood with the pulse of the music from the islands around and rock and roll from a nearby continent. Here, he begins collecting: testimony from the horizon, breath from the four corners of the world, and echoes from distant shores all gather in his mind's ear.

This is the story of JC Maillard (aka Mbutu, aka Grand Baton), French composer, guitarist and pianist, singer/songwriter and arranger native of Pointe-à-Pître, Guadeloupe. Such atypical circumstances: early classical piano studies, sunday performances at church from the age of 9, first in choirs then in the local band of the small church of Saint-Claude on the slope of the Soufriere volcano, Carnival parades and a few travels to the nearby American continent would naturally reflect along his creative development.

Naturally, the work of JC Maillard first reflected his roots in various collaborations with Caribbean artists in "zouk" music (members of Kassav, and especially singer Patrick Saint-Eloi, Tanya Saint-Val, Mario Canonge, Beethova Obas, Emeline Michel, and countless others.

In 1996 encouraged by two guitar masters Leo Brouwer and Sergio Assad, Mr. Maillard started working on new compositions for the classical guitar based on the codes and the rhythms of the traditional hand drum from the Guadeloupe, the Ka drum, which led to the release of his first solo album "Ka Suite" in early 2000; fourteen pieces of overwhelming instrumental prowesses in a unique ethno-contemporary writing approach that established Mr. Maillard as a visionary solo artist and a groundbreaking composer.

His precocious professional career had kicked off in Paris, France at the age of 20, touring and recording with Grammy Award-wining artist from Benin, Angelique Kidjo, later followed by artists from all over West Africa like Toure Kunda, Koffi Olomide, Monique Seka, Omar Pene, and in the European jazz scene, as part of various projects with accordionist Daniel Mille, guitarist Louis Winsberg and the flamenco fusion project Jaleo, bass player Etienne Mappe and more.

He also wrote or toured/recorded with singer/songwriters in the like of Golden Globe Nominated filmmaker and writer Pierre Barouh, Michel Fugain, Michel Jonasz, Maurane.

Since 2002, he was seen impressively mastering a custom-made new 8-strings instrument made for him, the SazBass."

-JC Maillard Website (

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"Franco Pinna started his musical career as a drummer and percussionist in 1988 in Tucumán, Argentina where he performed and recorded with some of the most prominent musicians of the country.

In 1998 ,Franco moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music , where he obtained the "Outstanding Musicianship" scholarship and graduated Magna Cum Laude .

Since he moved to New York in 2004 , he has worked as a sideman , playing a wide variety of rhythms and has recorded more than 70 albums accompanying many artists around the globe. He has also taught South American rhythms in various seminars .

In 2015 he began his own musical project "Chuño", an experimental duo with vocals and percussion set that blends the rhythms and melodies of South and Central America.

His setup includes traditional drum set , percussion from around the globe and "Arpalegüera" , instrument designed and crafted by him that evokes the sounds of Andean Charango, African Kora, and Asian Koto."

-New Music USA (

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"Thierry Arpino: Born in Paris - August 24, 1961 - Thierry Arpino stands atop a family drumming lineage which spans four generations. His father, the renowned Andre Arpino, introduced him to the drums at the age of three. Thierry's prodigious gifts flowered through and inspired a mindful process that enabled him to far exceed the "ten thousand hour" rule of mastery.

A musician's musician, Thierry also studied classical percussion, piano and harmony. He is a graduate of the prestigious St. Maur National Music Academy in France. In the summer 1980, Thierry Arpino continued his musical education at Berklee College of Music in Boston MA, USA where he was invited to study with big band master Herb Pomeroy and master drums teacher Bob Kaufman.

Thierry's career has been punctuated by stints with such notables as Joe Beck, Larry Coryell, Jean- Luc Ponty, Lisa Fisher, to name but a few. His ability to contribute with astounding authentic and ownership in a variety of musical idioms such as jazz, rock, latin jazz, African rhythm, world beat, funk, R&B and pop are why he remains one of the most sought after drummers of his day.

Although much can be said and understood of Thierry Arpino's virtuosity, what remains unquantifiable is the musical liberation and sheer joy he displays in each and every performance."

-Yamaha (

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track listing:

1. Ge'ulah 4:37

2. Setumah 5:04

3. Kayam 5:13

4. Rachamim 4:51

5. Penimi 4:18

6. Orot 6:29

7. Tikkun 4:01

8. Ketarim 5:31
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Sofia Rei, JC Maillard, Franco Pinna, Thierry Arpino The fabulous voice of Sofia Rei has graced several Zorn vocal projects, from the acappella quartet Mycale to the dynamic Song Project, and here she interprets 8 compositions from the Book Beri'ah--the third and last book completing the Masada legacy.

Featuring the remarkable JC Maillard on saz bass, the arrangements are incredibly varied, and range from lyrical heartfelt ballads to driving grooves. Intimate and intensely personal, this is one of the most unique Masada CDs in the entire series! Unforgettable."-Tzadik

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Quartet Recordings
Unusual Vocal Forms
Percussion & Drums
Song Based Music
New in Improvised Music
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