Kahil El: Love Outside of Dreams (2002)
Strong words, no doubt, but El'Zabar is as consistently strong a player as you could ask for. His work with Art Ensemble of Chicago bassist Malachi Favors, violinist Billy Bang and his Ethnic Heritage Ensemble are all not to be missed. But his strongest musical partnership has always been with tenor titan David Murray (see especially the excellent Golden Sea on Sound Aspects). Murray knows how to winnow within and wrap his horn around El'Zabar's percussionistic heads.
On Love Outside of Dreams (and let it be said that, as with the aforementioned Mr. Wonder, El'Zabar's word choice and occasional lyrics are not for those made squeamish by positivity), Murray and El'Zabar are joined by the late great Fred Hopkins in a 1997 set. Why Delmark allowed this to languish on the shelves for five years is a mystery - it's one of El'Zabar's finest releases in recent memory. There isn't a lot of new material - El'Zabar isn't bashful about recycling themes - but the songs are simple enough to inspire new life every time they're played.
His work with Hamiet Bluiett and DD Jackson has been relatively restrained, but Chicagoans know Kahil can rock the house. Love Outside of Dreams shows the power that is only he.
This review first appeared in the November 2002 issue of All About Jazz: New York .
Track Listing: 1. Love Outside of Dreams (El'Zabar) - 10:15 2. Song for a New South Africa (Murray) - 9:38 3. Song of Myself (El'Zabar) - 7:00 4. Nia (El'Zabar) - 7:51 5. Meditation for the Celestial Warriors (El'Zabar) - 8:30 6. The Ebullient Duke (El'Zabar) - 9:35 7. Fred (El'Zabar) - 0:21 8. One World Family (El'Zabar/Murray) - 8:20
Personnel: Kahil El
Record Label: Delmark Records
Style: Modern Jazz