315

Steve Reid Ensemble: Daxaar

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Reid Ensemble: Daxaar Forty years have passed since drummer Steve Reid journeyed for three years in Africa, learning the roots of rhythm with master percussionist Guy Warren and in the band of Fela Kuti. For Steve Reid, returning to the continent of rhythm to record Daxaar in Senegal is no mere nostalgia trip: "The first time I went to learn and this time I was just going to give and enjoy, and find out what new thing we could discover together. The result is a brew of potent Afro funk-jazz grooves where rhythm is king and where groove trumps soloing.

Kora player Isa Kouyate plays and sings "Welcome unaccompanied to open the album. Stylistically somewhat incongruous with the music which follows, it is nevertheless a beautiful song and forms a kind of time-line from the past with Jimi Mbaye's electric guitar which follows; two styles, two Africans, one well.

On "Daxaar Steve Reid keeps up a pacey hi-hat and bass drum rhythm over a slow-building wave of Khadim Badji's infectious percussion, electronic punctuation, a swirling keyboard riff and flickering guitar lines. Five minutes later, Reid comes crashing down on his snare drum in a cracking, explosive moment which releases Boris Netsvetaev on an expressive keyboard solo full of personality.

"Jiggy Jiggy is a delightful, hand-clapping, Sly and the Family Stone-type groove on which Jimi Mbaye weaves his blues-edged guitar lines. Roger Ongolo's breezy trumpet wafts lazily by, picking up a little steam but not too much. Netsvetaev again shines on keyboard and Kieran Hebden's subtle use of electronics adds much to the ambience of the tune, his touches sounding almost flute-like.

The Bronx comes to Dakar on "Dabronxar, or more specifically the spirit of Miles Davis does. Minimalist guitar-lines, keyboard and floating trumpet are carried on a cymbal-driven rhythm recalling Davis' classic In A Silent Way (Columbia, 1969), only warmer and groovier.

There are no real pyrotechnics from Reid; rhythm is the thing. The ensemble get into a groove, lock it down and from there are free to explore the possibilities of group dialogue.

The journey which Steve Reid began two-score years ago continues. Daxaar affirms that Reid and Ensemble is a band to be reckoned with, drawing inspiration from the traditions and waves of the past, the trends of the present, and with one eye, one suspects, very much on the future.


Track Listing: Welcome; Daxaar; Jiggy Jiggy; Dabronxxar; Big G's Family; Don't Look Back.

Personnel: Steve Reid: drums; Khadim Badji: percussion; Dembel Diop: bass; Kieran Hebden: electronics; Isa Kouyate: kora and vocals (1); Roger Ongolo: trumpet; Jimi Mbaye: guitar; Bors Netsvetaev: keyboards.

Title: Daxaar | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Domino Records (UK)


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Duet" CD/LP/Track Review Duet
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "The Time Verses" CD/LP/Track Review The Time Verses
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Ocean of Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Pensamiento" CD/LP/Track Review Pensamiento
by James Nadal
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.