Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

260

Wessel van Rensburg / McCoy Mrubata: Kulturation

Seton Hawkins By

Sign in to view read count
Pianist Wessel van Rensburg and saxophonist McCoy Mrubata have both established themselves as giants in the world of South African jazz in their respective solo careers, as well as their work together in the Sheer All Stars. Both have demonstrated ample chops, compositional skills, and musical creativity on all of their albums. But on Kulturation, the debut album for van Rensburg's Grasland label, they have created an album of such stark, understated beauty that it will surprise even longtime listeners.

Though they are joined by bassist Mlungisi Gegana, percussionist Godfrey Mgcina, and guest vocalist Jennifer Ferguson, the album focuses mostly on the delicate interplay between Mrubata and van Rensburg. Slow to mid-tempo songs that rarely rise above mezzoforte are the norm, often juxtaposing van Rensburg's dark, rolling piano lines against Mrubata's saxophone, which ranges from gentle, floating lines on "Kinders van die Wind to more raw, crying statements on "Roepstem Oor Landskap.

When the other two instrumentalists join in, the tempo picks up a little more, like on the gospel-flavored "Halala Afrika ; the comparatively forceful "Warrelwind ; and a rather mystical reading of the Manhattan Brothers' classic "Jikela Emaweni.

However, the most striking performance on the disc comes from vocalist Jennifer Ferguson. On "Rest a While, Ferguson brings a metallic and breathy approach to the text that recalls Annette Peacock's singing, while on "Mensesee Ferguson invokes the innovative vocal acrobatics of Meredith Monk, singing the wordless melody and using repeated syllables to create both atmospheric and percussive effects.

Ultimately, the tracks on Kulturation are linked thematically as a musical journey, beginning with the restless saxophone/piano interplay of early tracks, pausing at "Rest a While, but ultimately moving into the brighter, more cadential territory of the later pieces. If there is any remaining doubt that van Rensburg and Mrubata are two of South Africa's most creative new musicians, Kulturation should put all such debate to rest.

Note: This CD is available from One World on the web.

Track Listing: Roepstem Oor Landskap; Bra Gib; Kinders van die Wind; Rest a While; Halala Afrika; Mensesee; Lala Baba; Lisa Se Klavier; Jikela Emaweni; Warrelwind; Papa; Dustwind; Sy's Hier.

Personnel: McCoy Mrubata: saxophone, flute; Wessel van Rensburg: piano, synths; Jennifer Ferguson: vocals; Mlungisi Gegana: bass; Godfrey Mgcina: percussion.

Title: Kulturation | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Grasland Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019
Read Vera Album Reviews
Vera
By Jerome Wilson
January 22, 2019
Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019