Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

139

Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: Freedom Jazz Dance

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Kahil El’Zabar remains one of the reigning visionaries on the Chicago creative music scene. There is a consistency in his approach to his craft that carries through to all of his various recordings and working groups. His predilection for recycling compositions is tempered by the certainty that each new reading will result in something completely different than what has come before. This supreme consistency balanced with insightful innovation is especially apparent in his recordings for Delmark. In the decade or so since he signed with the label his Ritual Trio with Malachi Favors and Ari Brown has teamed up with Billy Bang (“Big Cliff”) and Archie Shepp (“Conversations”), and there’s a disc in the works pairing them with Pharoah Sanders. This release follows the same recipe for success incorporating guitarist Fareed Haque, on shore leave from his regular duties at Blue Note, into the EHE.

Following along the same confident path trod by his predecessors Haque refuses slip comfortably into the role of complacent guest star. His nimble fingers shape subtle, but firm, string sculptures that effectively shift the dynamics of the group in new and provocative ways. On the title tune his slippery plucks strike a hip-swaying groove, capturing the essence of the Eddie Harris classic while at the same time adding a healthy dollop of his own signature grease. “Katon,” takes the group in an entirely different direction. Suffused in a delicate warmth Haque’s acoustic strings unfold above a lush rhythmic blanket of mild percussion, somber horns and El’Zabar’s gossamer thumb piano. Few sounds can match the tender fragility of El’Zabar’s touch on this instrument and this piece captures his emotive skills completely. “Mama’s House” works off a buoyant rhythmic riff supplied by Haque and El’Zabar this time on earthy hand percussion. Bowie and Wilkerson bask in the heavy rhythms and blow some thick breaks of their own steeped in the same organic funk. “So Low, But Not Alone” gives Haque the chance to display is disparate influences which incorporate not only jazz based improvisation, but Arabic and Flamenco flourishes as well.

The spiritual “This Little Light of Mine” is one of El’Zabar’s favorites and everyone switches to percussion to celebrate the vitality and importance of the piece (check out a very different version on the Ritual Trio’s “Jitterbug Waltz” on CIMP). Taking things out with “Barundi,” the four players sound reluctant to allow their time together to come to a close. Considering the magic contained on these seven tracks it’s easy to empathize with that reluctance and hope for a swift reunion of their talents.


Track Listing: Freedom Jazz Dance/ Katon/ Catch Me/ Mama

Personnel: Kahil El

Title: Freedom Jazz Dance | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Delmark Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Formidable CD/LP/Track Review Formidable
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Cochonnerie CD/LP/Track Review Cochonnerie
by John Sharpe
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Threes CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Smoke CD/LP/Track Review Smoke
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "Tributango" CD/LP/Track Review Tributango
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Black Diamond" CD/LP/Track Review Black Diamond
by Joe Gatto
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "E.S.T. Symphony" CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Jondo" CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Threes" CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 14, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor