214

Kahil El'Zabar's Infinity Orchestra: Transmigration

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Kahil El'Zabar's Infinity Orchestra: Transmigration 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 ElZabar: percussion, leader; Ernest Dawkins: alto sax, percussion; Joseph Bowie: trombone, percussion; Ilyes Ferfera: alto sax; Grat Martinez: baritone sax; Arnaud Rouanet: tenor sax; Marc Closier: tenor sax; Karlis Vanags: sax; Noris Kolmanis: sax; Benoit Berthe: sax; Fabien Deyts: trumpet; Yann Grillon: trumpet; Piero Pepin: trumpet; Vincent Gaugere: trumpet; Dominque Darrouzet: trumpet; Jean Dousteyssier: clarinet; Christian Patzer: flute; Jeremi Ortal: trombone; Guillaume Ballin: trombone; Clement Billardello: guitar; Xavier Corpice: guitar; Natalie Gaucher: vocal; Bindi Mahamat: vocal rap; Remi Bernis: vocal rap; Stephane Castanet: DJ; Nicolas Perrin: DJ turntablist; Olivier Soubles: piano; Marianne Thiebaut: djembe; Manue Peran: djembe; Jonathan Verbaere: djembe; Yacoura Silla: djembe, balaphon; Yvain Chambard: balafon, percussion; Pascale Martinez: percussion; Estelle Renauld: percussion; Herve Mignon: electric bass; Xavier Hayet: acoustic bass; Phillipe Gaubert: drums; Antonin Mallaret: drums; Yoann Scheidt: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Delmark Records | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "The Outlier" CD/LP/Track Review The Outlier
by Budd Kopman
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "Triple Exposure" CD/LP/Track Review Triple Exposure
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Out Of The Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Out Of The Blue
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Buena Vista Social Club" CD/LP/Track Review Buena Vista Social Club
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 19, 2016
Read "Beatbox Sax" CD/LP/Track Review Beatbox Sax
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 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!

Buy it!