Apart from being a brilliant palindrome, ifihadahifi is a way of transcending musical boundaries. Its genesis comes from talented producer, songwriter and composer Gideon Frankel. Featuring expressive performances from jazz flautist Jamichael Frazier and vibraphonist Gianluca Manfredonia – Frankel is out to spellbind us with his compositions. The first album is called The Dryad.

A fan of Greek mythology will know Dryads from the many enchanting tales spun about them. Here, the ensemble brings Latin inspired grooves with ease and panache. The mastery lies in the confluence of styles, each creating a little pocket of excellence with their virtuosic talent. Broken Dreams has flautist Frazier weaving a playful yet complex garland of notes. While they dance to the salsa-styled rhythm, the accompanying instruments dissolve in the background, as a faction of the lead.

The title track has a mischievous tone to it, inspired by the character of these fictional creatures. Compositions are tight and shine the spotlight on each of the talents in the ensemble – ending precisely before many artists retire into repetition. Burning Blues puts a tangy twist on the commonly heard shuffle or verse and breaks. Creating a quirky rhythm section, Frazier leads, while a solid bassline is provided by orchestrator Frankel. Flourishes and a lead section from the vibraphone were the highlight in this particular track.

Chocolate Box uses these magical musicians’ inner rhythm before creating the rich premise that they revel in. Short but not simple, the way these artists play off each other’s melody is truly admirable. The Mancini styled track Sweet Tears is next, where sorcery is created with fleeting notes and pictures. A thematic entrance to a character comes to mind, listening to The Phoenician. Using crafted layers to build a personality of historical relevance – there is a language in this music they write. Only those who would like to divulge in it, will ever know.

Catch Some Honey, as the name suggests, is a pleasant and picturesque composition. The boon of this album being an instrumental is the rich imagery, with some of the most creative yet complete arrangements. Manfredonia takes it all the way for the vibraphone lead, an enriching listen. Pay attention every second, or you might miss a miracle!

Sprit Dance revolves around the waltz of notes and consonance. Much softer and creating a dense background for dancing, there is a palpable change in rhythm and the utilization of a new indent in how the track is approached. The Start of Something, personifying incipience, creates a pulse that is primed for the flute performance. The phasing of the pianet between the right and left makes for some stirring moments in the song. Evenings is a colored lullaby that uses a familiar composition and adds its own signature moments to it. Ending with an apt name, Mellow Jive brings the focus back to the Latin-groove heavy compositions that led this album.

The closing track is not only an indicator but a bookend that is a contextual clue, a throwback of sorts. These talented musicians have created a narrative so rich and rewarding, you’ll feel the same smile return to your face as it ends. It is a masterclass in plain sight – reminding us that the best stories will come from the confounding beauty of the mind.

Available on Spotify and Apple Music and as a 175-gram limited edition vinyl here:

https://ifihadahifi1.bandcamp.com/album/the-dryad

Listen to The Dryad by IfIHadAHiFi here –