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Glenn Astarita
All About Jazz, January 2000

On In The Blink Of An Eye New York based Hammond B-3 specialist Sam Yahel offers the listener bluesy, cool and spirited renderings of pieces such as Freddie Hubbard's modern day classic "Little Sunflower" and Frank Loesser's "I Believe In You". Along with guitarist and ongoing member of Larry Golding's organ trio Peter Bernstein and ace drummer Brian Blade, Yahel serves up a rather tasty, affable and compact recording brimming with upbeat vibes and an articulate approach to the organ trio format. Throughout, Yahel is quite adept at utilizing the B-3 as a rhythmic instrument or providing textures and nuance behind Bernstein's often bright soloing and Blade's workmanlike drumming. On McCoy Tyner's "Inception", Yahel airs it out with nimble right hand leads while deconstructing the melody line and comping with the rhythm section. Peter Bernstein's "Just A Thought" commences as a soft ballad which evolves into a moderate tempo swing featuring thoughtful and quite colorful soloing by the composer while Yahel's original composition "So Long" is constructed around a smooth samba beat enabling the trio to embark on disparate choruses and shifting themes. One of the highlights is the inventive and most appealing rendition of the standard, "Like Someone In Love". Here, Yahel institutes a memorably melodic hook, which provides a pleasant contrast to the familiar theme. Sam Yahel's latest release from NAXOS jazz should warm over more than a few advocates of the jazz organ trio format, as Mr. Yahel is seemingly on the move while staking his claim as an inventive modernist who also pays homage to convention. In The Blink Of An Eye captures that sentiment in unequivocal fashion... * * * 1/2



Raoul Sullivan
HK Magazine, November 1999

"A great, fat wailing blues sound it may have, but the Hammond organ is an instrument that sounds so textured, that when it's played at low volumes it can sound overly evocative of cheap quiz shows and Friday night bingo ("Your organist for this evening is Derek"). Sam Yahel, however, gets down and very groovy indeed with this selection of eight standard and original tunes. With a refreshing and simple lineup of himself, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Brian Blade, Yahel bubbles and purrs his seamless way through Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower" and Frank Loesser's "I Believe In You" with such exquisite mood that not one track on this album is anything short of moving. Bernstein's poetic phrasing works beautifully with Yahel's feel for his instrument, and Blade's skinwork is flawless. Like most of the artists from the Naxos Jazz stable, New Yorker Yahel isn't exactly world-famous. But hats off to the label for producing one of the most original sounding, refreshing, and playable albums of the year."



Gary Lee
The Washington Post, April 1997

"From a front-row seat at Small's, it was easy to see how New York gained one of its most cherished designations. At 1:30 in the morning the Sam Yahel trio, three hours into a round of downright funky renditions of McCoy Tyner and other jazz greats at the Greenwich Village nightclub, was showing no signs of giving up. Organist Yahel kept tickling his Hammond like it was a bouncy baby, guitarist Peter Bernstein strummed the face of everybody in sight with his fingers, and drummer Brian Bladen rounded it all out with a deft clang here and a gentle bang there. The result was a graceful, upbeat electric sound, remindful of Earl Klugh at his most mellow. Even if the threesome had wanted to call it a night, the crowd seemed unwilling. It was a ragtag mixture of students dressed in fading khakis and hand-me-down tweeds, young, lean musicians clutching saxophones and trumpets, and European tourists visibly elated at their discovery of an authentic piece of Americana. After lining up an hour before the club opened, tromping down a long flight of stairs and huddling around tiny tables in this dim smoke-filled basement, these folks clearly wanted to hear music. They hung on every note, smiled at the turn of every new chord and put their hands together wildly at the end of every tune... there is a mood of freshness in the air. The musicians mesh together well, alternating between compositions by others, such as McCoy Tyner's "Inception," and their own original songs. It is 2:30 before Yahel and his colleagues wrap up their third set and make way for the next act. Although only halfway down a long night's journey into day, I decide to call it an evening. The band has played well and left me enlightened. Climbing up the stairs toward Greenwich Village, I promise myself I will return soon for the after-hours show."





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