Ariel Bart: Documentaries

Israeli harmonica player leads her sextet through a set of dramatic, yearning compositions displaying by a sharp melodic sense


This is the second release from harmonica player Ariel Bart, following 2021’s In Between. It features five other musicians, who create vast soundscapes that combine acoustic instrumentation and a distinctly modern character.

In the opening Between Light And Shadow (P.1), the intense and dramatic introduction gives way to a melodic and thoughtful piece. Bart, who wrote all the material here, leads the track on harmonica, and it sets the stage for the varied and nuanced compositions that follow.

Six Souls Left and The Lonely Man Of Faith both take a more reserved approach, with the former a gentle, searching piece and the latter featuring expressive piano improvisation from Eden Giat over urgent drumming from Amir Bar Akiva. The track slowly builds before Bart joins to improvise alongside Giat. The interplay between the musicians here and throughout is captivating.

While the set is mostly led by Bart and Gait, other members of the ensemble stand out. On Alison, Pray Away, Itamar Borochov on trumpet joins Gait in a short, pensive duet. On the fifth track, Teardrop, Mayo Shviro’s cello plays a haunting melody alongside the piano. The mood deepens as the rest of the ensemble joins, with Bart’s improvisation soaring above it all.

The closing Ending has a more lo-fi production and thus adds a particularly distant and nostalgic atmosphere. Overall, Bart’s second release is a fascinating, creative and engaging release.

Between Light And Shadow (P.1); Six Souls Left; The Lonely Man Of Faith; Alison, Pray Away; Teardrop; Nine Souls; Between Light And Shadow (P.2); Time Is Blind; Ending (41.47)
Bart (hca); Itamar Borochov (t); Mayu Shviro (clo); Eden Giat (p); David Michaeli (b); Amir Bar Akiva (d). Jerusalem, no date given. 
Ropeadope Records