All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

6

Mabuta: Welcome To This World

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
If the eyes are the windows to the soul and a portal opening to reality and closing on dreams, then the eyelids can be seen as the gatekeepers to such worlds. Mabuta—a genre-merging band taking its name from the Japanese word for eyelid—has a keen understanding of that concept. Shane Cooper, the mastermind behind this group, lives and dreams in different musical realms, having carved out his place as one of the premier bassists on the South African jazz scene while also making a strong impression in the electronic realm under the name Card On Spokes. With Mabuta he's able to integrate both identities to a certain extent, creating a whole that's true to each of his musical passions.

Opening on drummer Marlon Witbooi's cadential groove and quickly moving into a trance state with an arpeggiated keyboard crosscurrent, Mabuta wastes no time in taking the music to an astral realm. But this isn't a sleepy drift through starry atmospheres. Witbooi and Cooper dig in under the surface, the horns crest the waves, and the overall impression is one of hypnotic splendor, not gentle woolgathering. The follow-up track—"Bamako Love Song," one of two numbers featuring breakout British saxophone star Shabaka Hutchings—starts off with a more grounded ideal, finding traction with Cooper's bass while looking toward Mali. But then it slyly changes its line of sight and gazes up at the cosmos, playing out as a vacillating vision embracing both heaven and earth. Hutchings then hangs around for "Fences," a potent suggestion with persistent electric bass and drums driving the rave-up, and the core band carries "Beneath The Waves," a piece that swims above and below the surface of the water before being pulled away by the ebbtide.

A dose of Afropop, à la Fela Kuti, opens the second half of the album, with guest tenor saxophonist Buddy Wells joining Mabuta for its trip to Nigerian soil. Then it's off to "As We Drift Away," a number showcasing Robin Fassie-Kock's trumpet while shifting character in its gentle-to-tense-to-peaceable lifespan; over to Ethiopia for "Tafattala," a lengthy piece moored by Cooper's bass ostinato, dealing in intrigue and suspense, and giving guest guitarist Reza Khota some space to trip before a detour emerges; and out with "The Tunnel," an electro-groover in seven that finds Cooper cutting loose.

While the identity of this band is primarily shaped by Cooper's divergent interests and musical bearing, driven by the marriage of his bass to Witbooi's backbone drumming, and molded into melodic realms by the horns, the contributions of not-so-secret weapon Bokani Dyer also prove essential. Whether sprinkling stardust, creating clouds, soloing with intelligent abandon or pointing the way with his firmer thoughts, his contributions prove vital in establishing Mabuta's sonic fingerprint. Welcome To This World testifies not only to Cooper's creative blurring of stylistic lines and identities, but also to the gifts that his friends, like Dyer, bring to his music.

Track Listing: Welcome To This World; Bamako Love Song; Fences; Beneath The Waves; Log Out Shut Down; As We Drift Away; Tafattala; The Tunnel

Personnel: Shane Cooper: electric bass, double bass, guitar, synthesizers, Rhodes; Bokani Dyer: piano, Rhodes, synthesizers; Marlon Witbooi: drums; Sisonke Xonti: tenor saxophone; Robin Fassie-Kock: trumpet; Reza Khota: guitar; Shabaka Hutchings: tenor saxophone; Buddy Wells: tenor saxophone; Chris Engel: alto saxophone; Janus van der Merwe: baritone saxophone; Tlale Makhene: percussion.

Title: Welcome To This World | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Afrosynth Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Big Sky

Big Sky

Shane Cooper
Oscillations

CD/LP/Track Review
Take Five With...
Read more articles
Welcome To This World

Welcome To This World

Afrosynth Records
2018

buy
Skyjack

Skyjack

Self Produced
2016

buy
Oscillations

Oscillations

Self Produced
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Home Boy, Sister Out CD/LP/Track Review
Home Boy, Sister Out
by Chris May
Published: July 22, 2018
Read Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album Deluxe Edition CD/LP/Track Review
Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2018
Read The Literature CD/LP/Track Review
The Literature
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2018
Read A History Of Nothing CD/LP/Track Review
A History Of Nothing
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 21, 2018
Read Turbamulta CD/LP/Track Review
Turbamulta
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 21, 2018
Read 3 CD/LP/Track Review
3
by Jim Worsley
Published: July 21, 2018
Read "Synchronic" CD/LP/Track Review Synchronic
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2017
Read "Mother Tongue" CD/LP/Track Review Mother Tongue
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 3, 2017
Read "More Songs About Error And Shame" CD/LP/Track Review More Songs About Error And Shame
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "No Matter Where Noir" CD/LP/Track Review No Matter Where Noir
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Vanished Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Vanished Gardens
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 10, 2018
Read "D'Agala" CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018