147

Manu Katche: Neighbourhood

By

Sign in to view read count
Manu Katche: Neighbourhood It's a quiet day in the Neighbourhood. Manu Katché's ECM debut understates everything with a calm reserve, threatening to fade into the background without a fight (or a sax squawk). Check out the titles: "Lullaby," "No Rush," and "Lovely Walk," all urging your fragile attention to wander from the lilting tune. But then Tomasz Stanko steps up to solo, gilding the lyrical lily until he arpeggios up to a breathy peak in "Number One," snapping you out of whatever pleasant reverie you were soaking in.

That's the lovely pattern of this disc, working an ethereal groove into the ground until one of the talented virtuosos sneaks in a dissonant note, snapping everyone back to attention until they drift languorously away once again. The ebb and flow demands attention.

The French-African Katché cut his teeth on the condescending "world" music-inspired pop of Peter Gabriel and Sting, when ECM honcho Manfred Eicher thought his inventive rhythms could be used in improvised settings. Here he's paired with a European supergroup: Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, and his countrymen Marcin Wasilewski (piano) and Slawomir Kurkiewicz (bass).

The opener, "November 99," ignores the horns for a piano-bass-drums setup that's concerned with the rich spaces between notes. Wasilewski begins lush, then ramps down into some dark riffs as his compatriots snap in. Then Kurkiewicz, pizzicato, lays out the melody. Katché busies himself in the background, brushing and scraping some depth to the weightless tune, wreaking havoc on the tempo, zooming and retarding, a peerless play of stop-start dynamics. Wasilewski responds with unfinished runs, letting silence fill his peaks, each one a drama of anticipation. Then it settles and flows until Kurkiewicz slowly repeats the melody, winding down into sweet dissolution.

More highlights: the lurching heavy breathing of Garbarek's sax in "Number One"; Was and Stanko trading elliptical lines in "Lullaby"; the loose workout "Miles Away" ending mid-riff; and Stanko getting guttural on the lovely "Lovely Walk." "Rose" and "Good Influence" are the duds; these decorous tunes are never subverted the way the rest of the album is with such subtle ingenuity. In any case, Katché's cachet should be steadily on the rise.

Track Listing: November 99; Number One; Lullaby; Good Influence; February Sun; No Rush; Lovely Walk; Take Off & Land; Miles Away; Rose.

Personnel: Manu Katch

Title: Neighbourhood | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Translator's Note CD/LP/Track Review Translator's Note
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Then and Now CD/LP/Track Review Then and Now
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Gol CD/LP/Track Review Gol
by James Nadal
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Duo (DCWM) 2013 CD/LP/Track Review Duo (DCWM) 2013
by John Sharpe
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Magnetic CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017
Read A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "The Dreamer Is the Dream" CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "Thank You For Coming To Life" CD/LP/Track Review Thank You For Coming To Life
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960" CD/LP/Track Review Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "The Beast" CD/LP/Track Review The Beast
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Prairie Burn" CD/LP/Track Review Prairie Burn
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "Welcome to Swingsville!" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.