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Piamenta aims for Orthodox heavy metal fans; Hendrix he's not

album coverIt was about 30 years ago when I first heard Yossi Piamenta in Israel. He was an outstanding guitarist doing amazing jazz-rock fusion music. Then he found God, and his music seemed less interesting. The years passed and I occasionally talked about this extraordinary concert 30 years ago. I began to realize that I was seeing similarly laudatory praise in the Orthodox music press, so I picked up his brand new "Live: New York City Performance" album to listen to on a car drive down to the big apple.

This is not the music I remember. It is mediocre heavy metal accompanied by flat (if religiously derived) vocals and a mundane backup band. The faux Hendrix album closer—a reworked "Red House" doesn't do it for me, although here the guitar is skillfully imitative—wish the vocals were up to snuff. This CD contains music for a particular type of hormonally-overwhelmed New York City Jewish male teenager, which is fine. But I think I'll give it a rest. If someone knows and loves this music and can speak to what makes it attractive to them, I'll appreciate the comment.



With regards to your review of Yosi Piamenta:

Don't know what kind of heavy metal you are referring to, but I think your way off base with what your comparison. Yosi's music is more reminiscent of classic rock riffs from the early to mid 70's, ala Eric Clapton, or Grand Funk Railroad. As a matter of fact, Yosi just did a show with Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers, who really loves Yosi's music. The fact that Yosi can take the same stage with someone as accomplished as Mr. Burbridge speaks volumes, in my opinion.

The second disc of this show is very strong. Agadelcha and the Arabic medley are particularly good. Has religion dulled Yosi's musical creativity? Hard one to answer, but Yosi Piamenta has always been caught between two musical worlds. Perhaps some fresh material and a new singer are necessary, but I think you truly miss the joy and spirit of the music.

Yosi's musical influences are many, and comparisons to other musicians are inevitable. Yosi is honored by the "Hasidc Hendrix", and "Sephardic Santana" monikers, but has always said that he is, "more than happy just being Yosi Piamenta".

Maybe it's time you come to another show.

Of course he's no Hendrix; he's a guitar wanker, not a songwriter while Hendrix was at least both.

Personally, though, I saw him perform live at Brooklyn College two or three months ago and thought the show was smoking. I bought this live CD after the show and was disappointed. It had been recorded only a few months earlier but he played much better songs the night I saw him and did a lot less gratuituous guitar noodling than on this CD.

Personally I am a fan of the vocals. To me they have personality of the Ian Curtis (Joy Division) variety (which is not for everybody). They may be flat, but still somehow they fit. At least in my opinion.


Well, one point of departure may be including "Grand Funk Railroad" on a list of [bands with?] "classic guitar greats". But my point was to write about what I heard. I'm happy that you commented, and that people can read more than one view.

Maybe Grand Funk wasn't the perfect comparison but they were a heck of a fun band, from that creative period for guitar driven rock music. Anyway, I appreciate you posting my opinion.

All the best

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