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

| Record Label: Delmark Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Slag" CD/LP/Track Review Slag
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Countdown" CD/LP/Track Review Countdown
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Matador 4" CD/LP/Track Review Matador 4
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 31, 2016
Read "Love Song" CD/LP/Track Review Love Song
by Tyran Grillo
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Live In Ludwigshafen 1961" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Ludwigshafen 1961
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2016
Read "Play All the Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Play All the Notes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 8, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!