The fourth outing from German pianist Joachim Kühn, Moroccan vocalist and guembri (bass lute) player Majid Bekkas, and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez continues the trio's exploration into free-jazz and North African roots that began with Kalimba ( ACT Music, 2007). The percussion and rhythms of the Magreb were more prominent on Out of the Desert (ACT Music, 2009) which featured a cast of Berber musicians, while Chalaba (ACT Music, 2011) returned to the stripped down trio format. Here, Kühn again opts for a percussion-heavy approach, augmented on half the tracks by saxophonist Archie Shepp. The result is an intoxicating brew ...read more
Archie Shepp & Joachim KühnWo!manArchie Ball2011 At first glance, the pairing of veteran American saxophonist Archie Shepp and German pianist Joachim Kühn seems an unlikely one. But Wo!man is not the first time the two have performed together. Two or three decades back--Shepp says that he cannot now remember the year exactly--the saxophonist worked with Kühn in a band led by Finnish drummer Edward Vesala. It is a real pleasure, Shepp says, to have been reunited. The pleasure is not, moreover, entirely Shepp's, nor Kühn's, for Wo!man is ...read more
The sleeve notes to Chalaba describe German pianist and alto saxophonist Joachim Kühn as a veteran of the conscious avant-garde." This is certainly accurate--he's worked with Archie Shepp and Ornette Coleman, among others--but the description sounds rather forbidding, a portent of some serious and complex sounds for the mind but not the body. Thankfully it misleads: for while Kühn, vocalist and guembri player Majid Bekkas, and percussionist Ramon Lopez do produce some serious music, they also create some splendidly joyous tunes as well. Drawing on their combined roots in the musics of Spain, Morocco, Northern Europe and North America, these ...read more
Boundary busting and inventive though it was, Kalimba (ACT, 2007)--the first album by German pianist Joachim Kuhn, Moroccan vocalist and guembri player Majid Bekkas, and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez--ultimately felt like Kuhn's album more than a fully integrated, cross-cultural group exercise. Two years on, the trio's second outing, Out Of The Desert, offers a deeper mix--and an altogether more absorbing one.
Kalimba was recorded in Germany. For Out Of The Desert, the trio travelled to Morocco. In the regional capital Rabat, they teamed up with three local adepts of gnawa, a Moroccan trance music with roots in black ...read more
This transatlantic collaboration features the long-established partnership of Swiss sticksman Daniel Humair and German pianist Joachim K ühn, but the presence of saxophonist Tony Malaby further establishes the latter's fast-ascending status outside of the US. The reedman isn't blowing as belligerently as usual, tempted into exposing his softer side, his warm tone denuded of its lime-scale textures. The material is clearly composed, but in such a manner that much of the trio's interaction sounds completely improvised (there are pieces penned by each member). The language of the spontaneous is becoming so advanced (or even ingrained) that it's ...read more
As composer/multi-instrumentalist Kali Z. Fasteau wrote in last months's issue of All About Jazz / New York, jazz can embrace aspects of music from anywhere and everywhere, as can no other music on the planet, in a profound and high-quality synthesis."
These three albums combine jazz with the musical traditions, musicians and instruments of East India, Japan and Morocco. In a society that is fascinated with multi-culturalism, the fusion of jazz and world music is automatically exotic and intriguing. However, these discs are more profound and deliberate in their execution than the word exotic immediately suggests...read more
While it's easy to categorize the assimilation of diverse musical cultures as world music, the term has become over-utilized and often misrepresented. German-born pianist Joachim Kühn, Moroccan guimbri/oud player Majid Bekkas and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez intersect on Kalimba, an album that should dispense with oversimplified categorization. Instead, assessed on its own merits as an album that looks to capitalize on the strengths of everyone involved, it carves out its own distinctive musical niche.
This isn't the first time that Kühn has rubbed shoulders with artists from different cultures. The pianist first emerged in the early 1970s as a stylistic ...read more