214

Kahil El'Zabar's Infinity Orchestra: Transmigration

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Kahil El'Zabar is a man of many inventions. His music has a pure passion that transcends the mundane. He lifts compositions with imagination into realms that are at once startling and captivating. He manifests those traits on this splendid recording where his compositions are zapped into a three-dimensional impact by Ernest Dawkins (alto saxophone and percussion), Joseph Bowie (trombone and percussion) and the 39-piece Infinity Orchestra from France which has some exciting and innovative musicians.

El'Zabar leads the Infinity Orchestra at the National Theatre of Bordeaux, where he is also an artist in residence. His compositions are front and center as he pulls in various styles and molds them for the Orchestra and, on the last track, "Return of the Lost Tribe, for Bowie and Dawkins.

Jazz has been married to several other idioms, but the art has escaped many. El'Zabar comes up trumps on "Nu Art Claiming Earth where voice, horns and percussion lead in Bindi Mahamat to rap over a scratching turntable. The groove primed for dancing, is irresistible. The beat is pulled back into silence one-third of the way when a whole new atmosphere comes in. A curling bass line, a piano that sings a sweet mainstream melody and draws the swaying ensemble of the horns, and lush orchestration change movement and mood. The suite gets a resounding finale from drummers who fire up the tempo with the cacophonous explosion of the horns.

"Speaking in Tongues swings, the orchestra playing off an improvisatory head on the balafon from El'Zabar. The chart opens room for the brass and the reeds, the consonance seamless. In the expanse of the near 25 minute track come a host of impulses. There is the tenor saxophone of Karlis Vanags, seeking and finding eloquent bop, the trumpet of Piero Pepin, at once filtering the melody and taking it out onto colorful branches, the clarinet of Jean Dousteyssier, glistening and glowing with prancing phrases, and the alto saxophone of Benoit Berthe swinging buoyantly. The catchy melody is given a joyous air by the Orchestra, enhanced by a dollop of European chromatics, a classical temperament that cools the ardor without dampening it. In sum, a perfectly crafted gem.

Dawkins gets into the melody of "Return of the Lost Tribe and stays there for a short spell, letting only an occasional darting phrase undulate the calm. As he begins to build the tension, his phrases get muscular, but he draws back and lets gentility seep in. The juxtaposition is compelling, but it is also the soothing pad for the orchestra whose ensemble lines are softly translucent. Bowie growls and swipes broad strokes on the trombone letting a jutting note add variety. Melody and freedom are compact soul mates, nailed in the fierce propulsion of Dawkins on the comeback. This tune was written by El'Zabar in 1978, but it still makes a vital statement. Like the rest of this album, music of this caliber cannot be contained by time.

Track Listing: Soul To Groove; Speaking In Tongues; Transmigration; Nu Art Claiming Earth; Return Of The Lost Tribe.

Personnel: Kahil El

Title: Transmigration | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Delmark Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

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

It's Time

It's Time

Kahil El'Zabar
It's Time

Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Follow The Sun

Follow The Sun

Delmark Records
2014

buy
What It Is!

What It Is!

Delmark Records
2013

buy
Ooh Live!

Ooh Live!

Bright Moments/Katalyst
2008

buy
 

Magg-Zelma

I Am Digital Media
2008

buy
Transmigration

Transmigration

Delmark Records
2007

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jun18Tue
Kahil El'zabar And David Murray Duo
An Die Musik Live
Baltimore, MD
$10-25
Jun18Tue
Kahil El'zabar And David Murray Duo
An Die Musik Live
Baltimore, MD
$10-25

Related Articles

Read Live at I.C.U.U. Album Reviews
Live at I.C.U.U.
By Karl Ackermann
June 16, 2019
Read 789 Miles Album Reviews
789 Miles
By David A. Orthmann
June 16, 2019
Read Follow Me Album Reviews
Follow Me
By Roger Farbey
June 16, 2019
Read You Get What You Give Album Reviews
You Get What You Give
By Ljubinko Zivkovic
June 16, 2019
Read Play The Bird And The Bee Album Reviews
Play The Bird And The Bee
By Dan Bilawsky
June 15, 2019
Read Appleblueseagreen Album Reviews
Appleblueseagreen
By Dan McClenaghan
June 15, 2019
Read The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings Album Reviews
The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings
By Doug Collette
June 15, 2019