11

Manu Katche: Manu Katche

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Manu Katche: Manu Katche Since joining ECM for Neighbourhood (2005), Manu Katché has carved out a very specific niche for himself at a label whose purview continues to broaden—with this French-Ivorian drummer, perhaps surprisingly so. Contemporary? Yes, Katché has fashioned a nearly four-decade career as a superb groove-meister, whether in the rock world with artists Sting or Peter Gabriel, or with more decidedly jazz-centric artists like saxophonist Jan Garbarek, on Dresden (ECM, 2009), or keyboardist Herbie Hancock, on his (admittedly more pop-oriented) The Imagine Project (Herbie Hancock Music, 2010). But with his now four ECM recordings defined by accessible grooves and singable melodies, they're still absolutely players' recordings, and certainly nowhere near "smooth jazz" sphere to which some folks attribute them.

Manu Katché follows Third Round (2010), but returns to the slightly longer song lengths of Playground (2007), allowing his quartet, which brings back Third Round's Tore Brunborg, more maneuvering room. The saxophonist first appeared on the international stage with ECM and Masqualero, the now-legendary Norwegian quintet, led by bassist Arild Andersen and drummer Jon Christensen, that also included a young Nils Petter Molvaer, here making his recording debut with Katché. The trumpeter has garnered significant attention, beginning with the paradigm shift of his electro-centric, pan-cultural 1997 ECM debut, Khmer, through to the present, his current trio continuing to bust down borders of orthodoxy, style and culture on Baboon Moon (Sula, 2011).

Manu Katché represents, then, a reunion of sorts for Molvær and the equally busy Brunborg—whose star has been on its own ascendancy for recent ECM work with pianists Ketil Bjornstad (2010's Remembrance) and Tord Gustavsen (2012's The Well). Katché rounds out his bass-less quartet with British pianist/organist Jimmy Watson, for a program that ranges from the post-bop swing of "Short Ride" and soulful, tom-driven vamp of "Bliss" to the modal funk of "Beats & Bounce," and "Loving You," a ballad at its core but possessing, with Watson's intervallic-leaping Hammond, considerably more forward motion.

Molvær expands Katché's soundstage, for the first time, with his technology- driven approach; harmonized, with copious reverb and other effects, the trumpeter's solo on the propulsive "Walking By Your Side" is a sonic tour de force, though he adopts a more burnished, acoustic tone in the front line melodies with Brunborg on tracks like "Short Ride" and "Loose," but with an immediately recognizable embouchure.

As ever, Brunborg solos with effortless aplomb, weaving melodic yet change- aware lines through Katché's writing, while Watson demonstrates similarly unfettered imagination on piano, whether it's on the soft ballad, "Loving You" or "Beats & Bounce," where he channels his inner Herbie Hancock.

Katché rarely solos, though when he does near the end of "Short Ride," it's quickly clear that he's got plenty of jazz chops to spare. Katché made the right decision to leave more space on Manu Katché, because it would be an absolute mistake to constrain a quartet this good to just three or four minutes. Still, not a note is wasted with what may be his best group yet. Manu Katché may be ECM's most vital, booty-shaking record ever—and live, this group must be positively nuclear.

Track Listing: Running After Years; Bliss; Loving You; Walking By Your Side; Imprint; Short Ride; Beats & Bounce; Slowing the Tides; Loose; Dusk on Carnon.

Personnel: Jim Watson: piano (, Hammond B3 organ; Nils Petter Molvær: trumpet, loops; Tore Brunborg: tenor and soprano saxophones; Manu Katché: drums, piano solo (10).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: ECM Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Like, Strange CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Coalesce CD/LP/Track Review Coalesce
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Il sistema periodico CD/LP/Track Review Il sistema periodico
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Code Noir CD/LP/Track Review Code Noir
by James Nadal
Published: March 27, 2017
Read Welcome to Swingsville! CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Fourmation" CD/LP/Track Review Fourmation
by John Ephland
Published: March 27, 2016
Read "In Denmark 1959-1960" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark 1959-1960
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
by John Sharpe
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "El Barranco" CD/LP/Track Review El Barranco
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 11, 2016
Read "Eos" CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "Easy Living" CD/LP/Track Review Easy Living
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 10, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

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!