Drummer Manu Katché's career has been a long, circuitous one that began in rock, working for an extended period with Peter Gabriel
and Joni Mitchell
. In the cases of Sting and Mitchell, there was a jazz sensibility present in much of their work. Simultaneously, Katché's work on the ECM label was taking shape as he appeared on a number of Jan Garbarek
albums. The drummer's own ECM leader debut, Neighbourhood
(2005), was well received and the first of a successful string of four releases while on that label. With Unstatic
, Katché gives us a mostly understated original collection encompassing a number of world styles. Unstatic
features a core quintet and guests. Katché's long-time associate, saxophonist Tore Brunborg
is joined by Italian trumpeter Luca Aquino
. The two had played together on Katché's Live in Concert
(ACT Music Vision, 2015) along with pianist Jimmy Watson
who adds Fender Rhodes on this collection. A relative newcomer, Norwegian Ellen Andrea Wang plays the upright bassist and adds a bit of vocalizing and trombonist Nils Landgren
joins in on five of the eleven tracks.
All of the compositions on Unstatic
were written by Katché and they cover a lot of territory. Opening with "Introducciṓn"and later with "Flame&Co"Katché shows his Latin chops with bossa nova and samba flavors. On the latter of the two, Katché shows some real force along with a powerful saxophone solo. Bookmarked by those pieces is the title track, featuring appetizing solos from Watson and Brunborg. "City" is overtly funky while being laced with an old-world European refrain. Watson and Brunborg add their luster again on "Ride Me Up," an R&B/blues piece that morphs into funk. Wang gets her chance to shine on "Number 11."
Perhaps the indelible memory of the all-star Neighbourhood
with Jan Garbarek
, Tomasz Stanko
and Marcin Wasilewski
pigeon-holed the drummer and set too narrow an expectation as one of "the" drummers of the new millennium. This album is more a demonstration of Katché's diverse compositional skills than his eminent talents as a percussionist. In that regard, his role here may seem more conventional that in his early days, but Unstatic
should be viewed more holistically as the actor steps behind the camera and directs a quality work without ego.
Track Listing: Introduction; Unstatic; Flame&co; City; Blossom; Daze Days; Rolling; Ride Me Up; Trickle; Out Of Sight; Number 11.
Personnel: Manu Katche: drums, vocals; Ellen Andrea Wang: upright bass, vocals; Jim (James) Watson: acoustic piano, keyboards; Tore Brunborg: saxophones; Luca Aquino: trumpet; Nils Landgren: trombone (1, 2, 7, 11); Abraham Rodriguez Mansfarroll: percussion (1); Joel Hierrezuelo Balart: percussion (1); Inor Esteban Sotolongo: percussion (1).
| Year Released: 2016
| Record Label: Anteprima Productions