Jazzwise Special: The Third Man - A Very interesting interview by Stuart Nicholson

For the past two decades Israeli born, British based saxophonist, author and political provocateur Gilad Atzmon has matched his incendiary and controversial opinions with a relentlessly questioning attitude to the establishment and his own identity. With 15 albums to his name- backed by his rip-roaring Orient House Ensemble - Atzmon's latest, The Whistle Blower, is perhaps his most compelling to date. His Garrulous playing both mesmerizing and melancholic by turns. Stewart Nicholson discovers the outspoken polymath is still searching for answers in today's polemical maelstrom through passion, humour and politics.

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The Scotsman Review

Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble: The Whistle Blower

Fanfare Jazz



The saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist has launched his own label for the release of his 14th album with Orient House, one for each year of the band’s existence. The music is a characteristic mix of familiar strategies from the London-based Israeli, taking in the biting Middle Eastern sonority of Gaza Mon Amour, Coltrane-inspired intensity on Let Us Pray and To Be Free, graceful balladry on Forever and The Romantic Church, and throwaway pop on the title track.

The leader is in fine form on saxophones and clarinet, and throws in accordion and guitar for good measure, while the excellent Frank Harrison on piano and bassist Yaron Stavi do their usual fine job in this context.

Chris Higginbottom filled the drum chair on this session, and brings a more conventional jazz feel than his long-standing predecessor, Asaf Sirkis. KENNY MATHIESON



‘The Whistle Blower’ – Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble

A CASCADE of unalloyed Middle Eastern exuberance announces this latest release from Gilad Atzmon and his Orient House Ensemble. One of the hardest-working musicians on the London and UK jazz scene, multi-instrumentalist and composer Atzmon is one of those privileged beings whose instrument (here, chiefly sax) appears simply to be an extension of their own being, such is the fervid eloquence and quick-witted delivery of his performances.

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The Times Album Review

Gilad Atzmon: The Whistle Blower

John Bungey


After a turn on the Pink Floyd’s The Endless River, the Israeli-born saxophonist returns to choppier jazz waters. The Whistle Blower contains the familiar Atzmon elements: Middle Eastern rhythms, passionate Coltrane-esque solos, a dash of humour and a dash of politics but now blended with a craft that reflects eight years of hard touring by his fine Orient House Ensemble. Not as overwhelming as an Atzmon live date can be, but still full of fine moments. 

Bebopspokenhere's Review: The Whistle Blower

CD Review: Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble - The Whistle Blower


Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon (alt/sop/clt/acc/gtr/vcl); Frank Harrison (pno/keys/vcl); Yaron Stavi (bs/vcl); Chris Higginbottom (dms/vcl); + Tali Atzmon, Antonio Feola (voice).
(Review by Lance).
It's not for me to comment on anything other than the music - not even the title! Gilad's political views have long caused controversy but - freedom of speech, Je suis,  and freedom in music too. Gilad represents freedom in music without losing qualities that are music. The Whistle Blower is an emotional release that contains excitement alongside the most romantic saxophone playing I've ever heard in contemporary (ish) jazz. Maybe if Hodges or Webster had been born on the day they died they could have found in Gilad a soulmate.

His portrait of Moana Pozzi (Italian 'Adult' actress who died aged 33) is beautifully painted in sound on the track For Moana. Gilad goes further and writes in the notes:

I am old fashioned

A reactionary existentialist

The enemy of progress

A Kantian rebel in your midst.


But I love Moana Pozzi

My vintage romantic heroine

When she passes by

I stare...

She glances at me and beams gently.


I am old fashioned

An honorary knight of The Romantic Church

I am the Iman of retro

And I am happy

It's an impossible disc to describe fully. There is so much happening - sadness, love, explorative excursions, beauty - put beauty top of the list - and the quirkiness we've come to expect from the Orient House Ensemble is in there too and I wouldn't have it anywhere else. Sadly it is everywhere else! The band's tour runs from January to April 30 and they are everywhere else - apart from the north east that is!

Seems to me I'm ending a lot of reviews like this lately...
Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble - The Whistle Blower is available now - check out Samples Link.