Rotem Sivan is one reason why listening to jazz is so rewarding. And without a doubt, Sivan's new release, For Emotional Use Only, is one of the great guitar albums in recent memory. Affable in the extreme, this Israeli-born, New York-based musician evokes the better balladry of Pat Metheny and relaxed swing of Kenny Burrell, two obvious inspirations, yet his confident playing style and refreshing compositions marry that astute sense of swing with unabashed romanticism.
Sivan sees his songs as musical photographs and—like a series of happy memories—the tunes unfold like turning pages in an album, radiating with color and interest. New to me, as well, are his marvelous trio mates, bassist Haggai Cohen Milo (dig his walking line on “Pass It On”) and a master on brushes and rhythmic textures, drummer Mark McLean. Both provide lush support throughout, but on two covers in particular—Jobim’s "Useless Landscape" and a rarely heard "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" (from Cinderella)—Sivan's lines and affecting style transport us into a realm of musical bliss.
This article is from the October 2014 edition of ICON Magazine, the only publication in the Greater Delaware Valley and beyond solely devoted to coverage of music, fine and performing arts, pop culture, and entertainment. More Information.