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INTERVIEWS

Manu Katché: The Colors I See

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Manu Katché is one of those few names familiar to a large audience of quite different musical orientations. Along his career he has played with some of the most representative pop, rock, country, jazz--and even classical--musicians. Katché's immense adaptability and emulative spirit, together with the harmonic roundness of tone on his instrument, make him to an outstanding presence on the world's musical scene. His most recent album Manu Katché (ECM, 2012), comes to illustrate the stylistic accuracy, musical fluency, and vigor and subtlety of a fully accomplished musician.All About Jazz: Do you consider yourself a born musician?

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Manu Katche: Manu Katche

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A celebrated session drummer and solo artist, Manu Katche's infamous method of crafting a backbeat may parallel the lyrical, dancelike aura for which late jazz drummer Paul Motian was noted. However, Katche's jazz roots are largely evident via his small group formats for ECM Records. On this self-titled release comprised of a multinational quartet, rock-solid pulses, richly melodic content and resounding storylines exquisitely coalesce. But the differentiator lies within Katche's enthralling compositions, sheened by the breathy, wide-open ECM soundscape aura. Highlighted with asymmetrical parts of brawn, finesse, and capaciously executed motifs, the band casts an ethereal spell, but offsets the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Manu Katche: Manu Katche

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Since joining ECM for Neighbourhood (2005), Manu Katché has carved out a very specific niche for himself at a label whose purview continues to broaden--with this French-Ivorian drummer, perhaps surprisingly so. Contemporary? Yes, Katché has fashioned a nearly four-decade career as a superb groove-meister, whether in the rock world with artists Sting or Peter Gabriel, or with more decidedly jazz-centric artists like saxophonist Jan Garbarek, on Dresden (ECM, 2009), or keyboardist Herbie Hancock, on his (admittedly more pop-oriented) The Imagine Project (Herbie Hancock Music, 2010). But with his now four ECM recordings defined by accessible grooves and singable melodies, they're ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Manu Katche: Third Round

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The art of making music that engages both the head and the heart is evidently not hard to pull off, but can be potentially self-defeating. But Manu Katché's exuberant and playful albums set new standards for brainy, soulful, and funky jazz, by blending his strengths as a composer and instrumentalist. His work as a drummer/composer/bandleader, much of it for ECM, shows Katché at his creative peak, stretching his capabilities to dizzying heights. The Third Round is the next step upwards on Katché's creative ladder, a release of the highest order that combines moments of supreme beauty with ...

INTERVIEWS

Manu Katche: Play As You Are

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Manu Katché is one of the most original drummers anywhere, defying categorization and straddling musical genres with ease and flair. A French national of Ivorian background, he has turned his hand to pop, rock, fusion and jazz, and his exposure to all these elements, plus his classical training, is indelibly stamped in a playing style all his own.

For over 20 years, Katché has toured and recorded with such iconic figures as Sting and Peter Gabriel, bringing his highly distinctive time keeping to their music and touring all over the world. As a sideman, he has recorded with an impressive ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Manu Katche: Third Round

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Drummer Manu Katché's third album as leader on ECM, largely follows suit of his previous two on the legendary German label. A spectacularly inventive drummer, Katché demonstrated on Neighborhood (ECM,2005) and Playground (ECM, 200 7) that he's also a composer of highly attractive tunes, characterized by strong melodies and a gently lilting lyricism, guided by his very personal drumming style. Third Round serves up more of the same though with subtle textural changes which reflect the change in personnel from his last outing.

Having spent most of his career coloring the music of pop artists it's maybe no coincidence that ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Manu Katche: Third Round

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Manu Katché Third Round ECM Records 2010

It would be beyond cute to suggest that Manu Katché marches to the beat of his own drummer. Still, in a career spanning three decades and regularly crossing over between pop, jazz and world music, the French kit-meister has demonstrated a unique propensity for groove and a distinct (and refreshing) avoidance of the “look at me" pyrotechnics so often encountered with drummers this talented. Since releasing his first album as a leader for ECM in 2005, Katché has consistently surrounded himself with fine improvisers, including ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Manu Katche: Playground

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It's great to hear drummer Manu Katché finally given the spotlight to present his qualities as composer/bandleader. His first album--It's About Time (BMG France, 1992)--was a flop, despite the many popular names participating. Neighbourhood (ECM, 2006), on the other hand, was a work of genius, presenting Katché's best qualities as a composer, arranger and player. It put him on the jazz map as more than a great sideman, which is how he's been most often perceived. Like Neighbourhood, Playground is fueled by the mutual respect of its participants and shaped by ECM's artistic ethos. It features saxophonist Trygve ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Manu Katche: Playground

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Part of what makes jazz so fascinating is its stylistic breadth. Indeed, the word jazz is almost synonymous with “that-which-shall-not-be-defined," but labels are a shorthand that can help relate a given release's main characteristics. Playground, drummer Manu Katché's second release as a leader after Neighbourhood (ECM, 2005), resists the application of a label, but “ECM Smooth Jazz" might suffice. Even before the screams subside, that label does need explanation. Smooth Jazz, which is a very popular genre, is usually defined as jazz with any sharp edges sanded and its harmonies, rhythms, melodies, improvisations and dynamics existing within ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Manu Katche: Playground

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It may not appear until the fourth track in, but the propulsive “So Groovy" could easily have been the title for the follow-up to Manu Katche's award-winning ECM debut, 2005's Neighbourhood. Still, Playground is no less fitting since it's an album that demonstrates--with three-fifths of Neighbourhood's members reconvened, and two younger but emergent players replacing the heavy-hitting front line of saxophonist Jan Garbarek and trumpeter Tomasz Stanko--that the chemistry of that first disc was more than happy coincidence.

Pianist Marcin Wasilewski and bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz--half of Stanko's current quartet--are back, and the palpable evolution they've shown with their older mentor ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Manu Katche: Neighbourhood

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He may be better known as the rhythm engine behind popular music icons like Sting and Peter Gabriel, but Manu Katche has always been more than a simple backbeat, despite his unerring ability to create accessible, danceable grooves. His work on ECM stalwart Jan Garbarek's albums I Took Up the Ruins and In Praise of Dreams (ECM, 1990 and 2005) does nothing to dissuade jazz purists' view that the saxophonist left “real" jazz behind over two decades ago. Still, Katche is a true rarity--a chameleon-like drummer who can mold himself to any context, yet remain completely identifiable in his choices ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Manu Katche: Neighbourhood

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It's a quiet day in the Neighbourhood. Manu Katché's ECM debut understates everything with a calm reserve, threatening to fade into the background without a fight (or a sax squawk). Check out the titles: “Lullaby," “No Rush," and “Lovely Walk," all urging your fragile attention to wander from the lilting tune. But then Tomasz Stanko steps up to solo, gilding the lyrical lily until he arpeggios up to a breathy peak in “Number One," snapping you out of whatever pleasant reverie you were soaking in.That's the lovely pattern of this disc, working an ethereal groove into the ground ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Manu Katche: Neighbourhood

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Neighborhood, Manu Katché's ECM debut, is full of wonders. The drummer is joined by his old comrade Jan Garbarek (saxophone) and Tomasz Stanko (trumpet), as well as Marcin Wasilewski (piano) and Slawomir Kurkiewicz (bass), who are part of Stanko's quartet. The band creates music full of small epiphanies and the seductive warmth that is typical of the works of Miles Davis and Keith Jarrett. It is no surprise that Katché really knows his trade, since for the last 25 years he has been an in-demand drummer for people like Gabriel, Sting and Jan Garbarek, to name but a few. His ...



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