by Diana Gener | Arts & Entertainment Editor
The Greek poet Constantine Cavafy says in his poem “Ithaca”: “When you set sail for Ithaca, wish for the road to be long.” The pianist Shai Maestro takes it literally in his new album The Road to Ithaca, a journey through simple melodies, composition and improvisation.
Since he left Avishai Cohen’s trio in 2011 after playing with him for four years, Shai Maestro has been work- ing hard to create his own path. Born (1987) and raised in Israel, the pianist mixes the diverse cultural background of Israel with the constant flow of inspiration that New York, his current home, brings to him. The Road to Ithaca is his second album as the leader of his own trio. In this new adventure his travel companions are the same as he had in his first album: Israeli drummer Ziv Ravitz and Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder. Together, the trio explores further the path they began in their first recording Painting (2012): simple melodies and the uninterrupted search for the beauty to engage his audience.
Maestro combines outstanding jazz and contemporary music with pop melodies (highly influenced by his predecessor Brad Mehldau). Underneath this simplicity, Maestro builds his compositions on his strong classical music technic background, his jazz improvisation experience and the pop melodies that belongs to his generation. On top of that, he follows the path initiated by Keith Jarrett where the point is to start playing without knowing where you will go. It is like the road to Ithaca: the way matters more than the destination. And Shai Maestro knows that very well.