206

Manu Katche: Playground

Nenad Georgievski By

Sign in to view read count
Manu Katche: Playground It's great to hear drummer Manu Katché finally given the spotlight to present his qualities as composer/bandleader. His first album—It's About Time (BMG France, 1992)—was a flop, despite the many popular names participating. Neighbourhood (ECM, 2006), on the other hand, was a work of genius, presenting Katché's best qualities as a composer, arranger and player. It put him on the jazz map as more than a great sideman, which is how he's been most often perceived.

Like Neighbourhood, Playground is fueled by the mutual respect of its participants and shaped by ECM's artistic ethos. It features saxophonist Trygve Seim and trumpeter Matthias Eick replacing Jan Garbarek and Tomasz Stanko, respectively. Regulars Marcin Wasilewski (piano) and Slawomir Kurkiewicz (double-bass) are back, and David Torn drops by with nice atmospheric guitar work on "Lo and "Song for Her. The result draws on Katché's proven strengths as a composer and instrumentalist, producing a wonderful listening experience where nuance and textural delicacy are very important.

What has remained the same is the innate lyricism of Katché's previous outing. What is different is the maturity of the compositions. Katché moves the band naturally through various tempos, with both Wasilewski and Kurkiewcz providing subtle strength and melodocism as necessary. Seim has a clear, luminous tone and a penchant for meandering, aching melodies, and his pairing with Eick works effortlessly.

There are many highlights, including "Lo," "So Groovy," "Snapshot," "Inside Game" and "Pieces of Emotion." As usual, Katché gives lots of space to his fellow players with an even stronger emphasis on group interplay this time around, in order to bring out more of his compositions' deep lyricism.

Playground is a strong record—heartfelt, often poignant, yet deeply uplifting. It's nice to hear a group breaking new ground in such a creative manner, making Playground a rewarding release with plenty of pleasure to be found.

Track Listing: Lo; Pieces of Emotion; Song for Her; So Groovy; Morning Joy; Motion; Project 58; Snapshot; Possible Thought; Inside Game; Clubbing; Song for Her, var.

Personnel: Manu Katch

Title: Playground | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Port Of Call CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read May I Introduce To You CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Skylines" CD/LP/Track Review Skylines
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "In Layers" CD/LP/Track Review In Layers
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "The Stone House" CD/LP/Track Review The Stone House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Untitled" CD/LP/Track Review Untitled
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 13, 2016
Read "Christmastime in New Orleans" CD/LP/Track Review Christmastime in New Orleans
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Times and Tides" CD/LP/Track Review Times and Tides
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 28, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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