At the age of 19, pianist Shai Maestro began touring and recording with Israeli jazz bass virtuoso Avishai Cohen. In the intervening years, he has refined his chops and the evidence of his extraordinarily beautiful approach to the piano is revealed in the eight original songs that make up Untold Stories (Motema Music). On the new album, Maestro is backed by Jorge Roeder, bass, and Ziv Ravitz, drums; the talented trio mates also co-wrote the opening number, “Maya’s Song.” Maestro weaves a spell in a song like “Elusive,” which unspools in an ethereal vein, then suddenly rises in intensity and ends with a whisper of notes. And “When You Stop Seeing,” inspired by a friend’s poem, is a reflection on being “born into this reality of conflict” in Israel, and his dismay at how, in both Israel and the United States, people are quick to embrace prejudice. — M.S.
(American Jewish World, 11.20.15)