121

David Murray and the Gwo-Ka Masters: Yonn-D

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
The music of the African diaspora has recently experienced a resurgence within jazz circles. It's true that the '60s were a time of African renaissance within out jazz nuclei in Chicago and New York, but the recent explosion of recordings featuring American jazz musicians with masters from Cuba, Brazil, and West Africa stands as tribute and testament to the universality of improvisation.

Tenor titan David Murray, of course, has led the charge. Having thoroughly explored the masters of American jazz and improvised music, Murray went global on recent Creole and Senegalese records. Yonn- Dé continues along the same lines, with a marriage between the music of Guadeloupe and good old- fashioned American jazz. Joining Murray for this record are traditional vocalist Guy Konket and a pair of gwo ka drummers, plus a quartet of experienced jazz musicians.

From the first salvo of this disc, it's clear that Konket's raw vocals will take center stage. As "Twa Jou San Manjé" evolves, it moves into more melodic territory, eventually building up to Murray's trademark explosive blowing. The primal trance-like drums and vocals fit quite naturally into this context, adding a layer of color and texture which thickens the sound and lends it a magical, mysterious quality. After ten minutes of outright jam, Murray and friends turn toward a funky groove on "Youyou." Bassist Santi Debriano knows the territory well, and he almost singlehandedly turns the tune into danceworthy material. This upbeat piece stands as the high point of the record. Further explorations into a variety of rhythms and styles make use of a synergy between the American rhythm section and the drummers from Guadeloupe. "Onomatopée" takes counterpoint and polyrhythm to extremes, showcasing the flexibility of this group.

At times sauntering and loose, at others tight and thrusting, Yonn-Dé never really loses a warm, spiritual quality. Of course most jazz listeners will be unfamiliar with the gwo ka tradition, and the stark rawness of its sound may surprise and confound. But in the end, Murray's efforts here are remarkably successful in their musicality and cultural richness. Yonn-Dé is a gateway to a fascinating kind of fusion, and it's sure to open doors for fans of improvised music the whole world around.


Track Listing: Twa Jou San Manj

Personnel: David Murray: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Guy Konket: vocals; Klod Kiavu

Title: Yonn-D | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Justin Time Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Musical Journey Through Time" CD/LP/Track Review Musical Journey Through Time
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "Lyn Stanley – The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Lyn Stanley – The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 2
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 12, 2017
Read "Seaside" CD/LP/Track Review Seaside
by John Eyles
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Honey And Salt" CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Silhouettes" CD/LP/Track Review Silhouettes
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 14, 2017
Read "Moment Frozen" CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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