Yuval Amihai: My 90s Summer

NY-based Israeli guitarist sometimes redolent of Herb Ellis mixes funk and swing in a breezy, accessible set featuring Dave Kikoski


The opening bars of My 90s Summer set the scene for the whole album. A breezy, upbeat theme is developed on guitar and lifted by delicate, funky Fender Rhodes and flute. You can imagine the warmth and stillness of a summer day.

As Amihai writes in the liner notes, this is his most personal work to date, and that sense of reflection on how far he has travelled – both musically and geographically – oozes from this music. Israeli-born, Amihai has travelled to New York City via Paris, absorbing musical and other cultural influences from different sources along the way.

The eight tracks work nicely together, showing a mature but light approach to music and taken as a whole they do indeed represent a sense of musical development and growth.

David Kikoski offers fine work on Fender Rhodes and piano, and switching between the two the mood of the music changes from breezy summer to something more akin to traditional jazz quartet playing.

Yuval himself has a pleasing style on guitar, sometimes sounding like Herb Ellis in some of his phrasing. He’s very much part of the group, rather than feeling the need to dominate with fancy licks and riffs. A sense of absorbing, learning and sharing permeates this very likeable album. Enjoyable.

My 90s Summer; MEDB (Middle Eastern Desert Blues); Gwen’s Groove; Song For Sacha; Smiles; Yitgaber; Coming Through; Saturday Afternoon (52.20)
Amihai (g); David Kikoski (p, kyb); Eric Wheeler (b); Jeremy Dutton (d); Itai Kriss (f); Julieta Eugenio (ts); Wayne Tucker (t). Brooklyn, New York, 24 June 2021.
Fresh Sound Records FSR-CD 5121