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La Sprezzatura Ensemble: Jones, Jean Claude (JC) / Esti Kenan Ofri / Oren Fried: Abstract Formative (Kadima)

Evocatively drawing on the exotic sounds and rigorous tenacity of the Middle East, The Sprezzatura Ensemble of Esti Kenan Ofri on voice, Jean Claude Jones on lap-style Spanish guitar and Oren Fried on drums and percussion, particularly classical & traditional drums & ringing tambourine bells, present five freely improvised chants recorded in Jerusalem between 2017-18.

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product information:

Label: Kadima
Catalog ID: KCR 50
Squidco Product Code: 30720

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: Israel
Packaging: Cardstock Sleeve
Recorded in Jerusalem, Israel, in 2027 and 2018.


Esti Kenan Ofri-voice

Jean Claude Jones-guitar

Oren Fried-bass, percussion

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Artist Biographies:

"Esti Kenan Ofri is a singer and composer with a special intimacy with the Sephardic music tradition. Her voice and the traditions she represents have inspired composers to write and arrange music for her. Her own compositions have been performed by various Israeli ensembles.

In the recent years, music composition is her main focus: Based on Arabic classical music, she arranges and composes instrumental and vocal pieces with an emphasis on contemporary poetry.

She regularly collaborates with the trio "Kol-Oud-Tof", Slave Ganelin, The East-West Ensemble, a duo with Lea Avraham and the Arabo-Andalucian Orchestra of Tangier. Prior to working as a singer and composer EKO was a dancer and choreographer."

-Esti Kenan Ofri Website (

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"Jean Claude Jones was born in Sfax, Tunisia and moved to France as a young child. As a teen, he taught himself simultaneously to play lead and bass guitar. At the age of 17 he began working in professional pop and jazz bands. In 1978 he moved to the US to pursue formal music studies, graduating from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he majored in jazz guitar. He continued his studies at the Music Institute of Technology in Los Angeles. In 1983 he emigrated to Israel, where he became a key player on the newly developing jazz scene. Several years later he made a definitive switch from guitar to double bass, and became involved in free improvised music. In time, he added electronics and computer-manipulated sounds to his musical arsenal. In 2016 because of a serious illness he returned the guitar as his main instrument.The driving force behind his work is "finding my space."

JC Jones is an esteemed music educator, and served as chair of the Jazz Department at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance between 1996 and 2000. He has performed and recorded with many leading international and Israeli musicians, dancers, poets, and vocal artists, including Stan Getz, Red Rodney, and Dave Liebman. Since the 1990s he has appeared with John Zorn, Anthony Coleman, Ned Rothenberg, Joey Baron, Marc Ribot, Ikue Mori, Mike Patton, Damon Smith, Joelle Leandre, Slava Ganelin, Steve Horenstein, Albert Beger, Arkady Gotesman, Avishai Cohen, Ariel Shibolet, Harold Rubin, Victoria Hanna, Josef Sprinzak, Amos Hetz, Anat Shamgar , Felix Ruckert, Dieter Hautkamp, Julyen Hamilton, Mark Dresser, Barre Phillips, Bert Turetzky, Irina Kalina Goudeva.

In 2004 he founded his label Kadima Collective Recordings.

Some of JC's major projects include Deep Tones for Peace 2009 telematic performances, the Kadima Triptych Series (cds/dvds/texts featuring double-bass masters), Myelination (the myelin chemical sounds and improvised music), and The Temperamental Duo, a collaborative work on Lydian + Explorations with composer/reeds player Steve Horenstein.

Since 2016 he has been working with lap-style prepared and sometimes prepared spanish guitar, in multiple collaborations and recordings with several eminent musicians. Works includes Wild Guitar Musings 2016 solo guitar, Keep on Dancing, duos recordings with percussionists Haim Peskoff, Oren Fried Denis Fournier, and JC on guitar, Sick Puppies In Love duos with vocalist Anat Pick 2016, Drones 2017, La Sprezzatura Ensemble 2018, Give it your all - Wild Guitar Musings 2018."

-Kadima Collective (

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Oren Fried (Hebrew: אורן פריד) is an Israeli drummer and percussionist, currently based in Jerusalem. He attended Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance High School.

-Discogs (

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track listing:

1. Abstract (Featuring Esti Kenan Ofri) 11:58

2. Formative 5:23

3. Discourse 13:50

4. Dreamcatcher 6:43

5. Drawing 5:59
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descriptions, reviews, &c.

"And here again is JC Jones, the very image of resilience, stubbornly riveted to this window to the world that music represents for him and persisting in ordering real or virtual sessions in the company of real-life artists or instrumentalists working in France and communicating through digital files. The two albums he has just produced for his own label echo these two complementary methods of work, each of which is of particular interest. Indeed, just as he was able to find some advantages in repudiating his double bass, which was too demanding in terms of verticality, to reconnect with his old mistress, a Spanish guitar lying flat on his lap, it was not only out of spite that JC opts for these seemingly disembodied exchanges, but which can also enrich the improvisation of the time of reflection, orienting it by itself towards a form of collective composition, although slightly shifted.

The five songs of Abstract Formative Discourse engraved in Jerusalem between 2017 and 2018 by La Sprezzatura Ensemble fit well, as for them, in the reality of physical encounters since recorded in a single space and a unique moment by the guitarist, the singer Esti Kenan Ofri and the percussionist Oren Fried. Whatever the training in which he presents himself and the instrument he uses, the music of JC was never an immediate first and this new opus comes at the right time to prove to us, if need be, that his aesthetic has lost nothing of its roughness.

The strings and the skins, in the proximity of their sonorities, suggest first a welcoming environment which, very quickly, transforms itself into a rugged landscape so that this woman voice, serious in its murmur, seems to vibrate in the rubble of a destroyed city. Therefore, we do not know if we are in Beirut, Aleppo, Sarajevo, or if we go through a dystopian decor brushed by a hyperrealist painter and we naturally come to remember these Deep Tones for Peace together a few years ago, by the contrabassist. Nylon slams on the wood, the drought of toms leaves no room for flexibility or organic heat released by the guitar. The clatter of the metal joins the disorganized chaos on the key where friction, scratching, muffled cries of strings immediately reduced to silence, acoustic explosions of materials brimees, contained, asphyxiated, which suddenly are released for a short moment of intoxication before falling back under the yoke of their torturer, all this prison vocabulary, comes to define the playing of the guitarist, as it appears at least in this session, and the atmosphere of a resonant album of this violence that the man is able to inflict on the man.

In this desolation sustained by the apparent disorder of arrhythmic percussions, the voice of Esti Kenan Ofri naturally takes on the tragic veil of the mourners, evokes the pain of these black silhouettes bent over the motionless bodies of Beirut, Aleppo or Sarajevo. The harshness of his timbre, in which Middle Eastern influences are sometimesperceived, unless they come from a Sephardic heritage, still inscribes his song in this warlike aesthetic where the complaint is broken, the voice that modulates a theme, ancestral and the obstinacy with which it resists the repeated attacks of its partners is tinged, in its most dramatic moments, of Iberian accents where deaf the duende of the siguiriya, this song of despair which tears the night of the gypsy evenings. But make no mistake: in most cases, Est Kenan Ofri escapes the formalism of cultural representation to espouse the pure abstraction of a personal language with its multiple roots to better free itself from it and define the less figurative frame of an evolving word, swollen with future forms which it itself ignores - and we do not know - what they may not look like.

It is around this voice and in the wake of the ropes mistreated by the initiator of the trio that Orren Fried organizes the systematic chaos of his strikes on the skin of classical or traditional drums, its significant chains suddenly striking the integrity of the wood or metal, its bells or tambourines whose specific use punctuates the floating of a libertarian flight or is rooted on the ground in the haunting repetition of a tempo marked with great reinforcement of karkabous and other millenary scrap. In the constant upheaval of an instrumentarium forged with memory and modernity, the percussionist handles the stakes of a trio conscious of what it owes to its culture and the wounds of history, but deliberately oriented towards a future emancipated from any aesthetic, formal or ideological link, consequently inscribed in the abstraction of a discourse free from all concepts and all doctrines."-Joel Pagier

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Trio Recordings
Guitarists, &c.
Unusual Vocal Forms
New in Improvised Music
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