If you’re a sucker for strings (and organic percussion) like I am, you should be listening to Boston-based instrumental ensemble Esthema. Theirs is a Middle Eastern, Near Eastern and Balkan sound, steeped in tradition but with jazz fusion, progressive rock and at times even classical sensibilities. The result is sophisticated, exotic, exhuberant and mesmerizing. This past summer, they released their third album, Long Goodbye, and on November 20, they will be having a celebration of this release at the esteemed Cambridge jazz club, Ryles. They’ll also be at Lilypad on November 2. The new recording is an introspective concept album that features Andy Milas (guitar), Onur Dilisen (violin), Naseem Alatrash (cello), Mac Ritchey (oud & bouzouki), Tom Martin (bass) and George Lernis (drums & percussion). You can learn more about everyone’s impressive backgrounds and musical prowess on their official site. For now, listen below to a live version of “Three Sides To Every Story.”
Esthema dates back to 2006. In the summer of 2007, they released their debut, Apart From The Rest. That was followed by The Hearness and Nowness of Things in 2009. Their music was named in the Top 25 independent recordings of 2008 at Indie-Music.com, and these first two CDs have been in the weekly Top 20 at Latch Fusion Radio alongside such artists as Herbie Hancock, Return to Forever and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. They’ve gotten radio airplay in the U.S., Europe and Turkey, and in 2010, the International Association of Independent Recording Artists (IAIRA) certified Esthema’s “Eastern Dance” as an International Top 10.
But never mind all that. The proof of truly great music is what happens between a person’s ears when they listen to it. Here is “Without A Moment’s Notice”:
And here’s some visual proof that these guys are really as amazing as they sound.