David Murray and the Gwo Ka Masters: Gwotet (2004)
Featuring guest tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, Gwotet crosses geographical boundaries to incorporate funk, blues, world beat, Afro-Cuban, and traditional “roots” in Murray’s melting pot. The title track summarizes his intended message, with Sanders and Murray soloing over an enchanting, rhythmic beat, swirling saxophone quartet harmonies, traditional vocal chants, and a contemporary back beat.
Horns and a classical Spanish guitar introduce “O’ léonso,” which fuses hot energy with surrounding coro on a tour of Afro-Cuban delights. The aura fits well with Murray’s lyrical tenor solo. He rains majestic cascades on the band’s big sound. Murray’s fire builds higher and higher.
To begin “Ouagadougou,” he slows it down to a purr. Bass clarinet and a gentle rhythmic concept carry the tune beyond mild. Eventually, though, it’s the two tenor masters going head to head in a battle to intimidate. Since they couch their overtones in a comfortable band ambience, the piece lays cool on the senses.
Murray and Sanders provide excitement. A funk groove and Afro-Cuban traditions give the album its special ingredient. Variety is what makes it succeed. A viable candidate for album of the year, Murray’s Gwotet should stay in the CD player’s rotation for at least the remainder of 2004.
Track Listing: Gwotet; O
Personnel: David Murray- tenor saxophone; Pharoah Sanders- tenor saxophone; Angel Ballester Veliz- alto saxophone, flute; Moises Marquez Leyva- baritone saxophone; Alexander Brown, Carlos Sonduy Dimet, Elpidio Chappotin Delgado- trumpet; Leonardo Alarcon- trombone; Klod Kiavue- ka drums, vocal; Christian Laviso- guitar, vocal; Herv