422

Kahil El'Zabar/ Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: Mama's House Live

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Kahil El'Zabar/ Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: Mama's House Live To say that Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble (EHE), now in its 35th year, is an institution is technically correct. The sounds created, however, are anything but conservatively labeled as establishment."

The EHE has had many combinations, including the original 1973 lineup of Edward Wilkerson and Light Henry Huff. Later versions included trombonist Joseph Bowie, percussionist "Atu" Harold Murray and, more recently, guitarist Fareed Haque, who is featured EHE's previous CD/DVD Live At Ascension Loft (Delmark, 2007).

Recorded live in 2006 at Sangha in Takoma Park, Maryland, the EHE in this trio form includes longtime partner, saxophonist Ernest Khabeer Dawkins and the group's newest member, Corey Wilkes. Wilkes, also the substitute for Lester Bowie in Art Ensemble of Chicago, is a vibrant trumpeter with energy to spare.

The stripped-down nature of this music is both its strategy and its grandeur. El'Zabar can disrobe a composition like Miles Davis' "All Blues," revealing its African roots. At the bare minimum El'Zabar, with his thumb piano and ankle wrapped in cymbals, vocalizes a living history of this music as sophisticated as Miles' Brooks Brothers suit yet as ancient as the old continent this music has sprung from.

Throughout, the groove is both captivating and spellbinding. Add to that the talented soloists Wilkes—and Dawkins. A leader of his own bands—including the New Horizons Ensemble—Dawkins exercises a dominion over his sound with the influences of Eric Dolphy and John Gilmore. As for Wilkes, his energy is self- evident, whether he is playing two trumpets at once or talking through a mute. And together the trio has the ability to amp up the energy at will.

The trio ends the disc with the sing-a-long version of "Ornette," which was first recorded on Dance With The Ancestors (Chameleon, 1993). After fifteen-plus minutes of music-making no one in the audience wants the show to end. Would it be too much to ask for 35 more years of the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble?

Track Listing: Oof; Kari; Mama

Personnel: Kahil El

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Katalyst | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Get 'Em CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Radioactive Landscapes EP CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read The Many Minds of Richie Cole CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Signature" CD/LP/Track Review Signature
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "Confirmation" CD/LP/Track Review Confirmation
by Nicola Negri
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "Waller" CD/LP/Track Review Waller
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Proximity" CD/LP/Track Review Proximity
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "Endemic Ensemble: Tangled" CD/LP/Track Review Endemic Ensemble: Tangled
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Nessuno" CD/LP/Track Review Nessuno
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

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!