129

Zim Ngqawana: Zimphonic Suites

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Zim Ngqawana: Zimphonic Suites You can take the jazz out of Africa, but you can't take the Africa out of the jazz. From the opening notes, South African saxophonist/flutist Zim Ngqawana's third disc as a leader coveys a sense of revelation and discovery. Zimphonic Suites organizes itself around five musical capsules, each with its own specific flavor and color. The first suite, "Ingoma Ya Kwantu," aims for a sense of "inner attainment," bridging tribal debts to imperial court music with a Coltrane-like devotional pursuit. The first tune leaps off into a deliberately paced modal exploration, briefly touching on a drum solo and then heading back into the savana for a bindingly emotional climax in "Resolution." Ngqawana's flute playing here betrays a refreshing polyglot literacy.

Subsequent suites connect the dots between tribal vocal/drumming music and instrumental improvisation. Ngqawana's core quartet dances about the boundaries and sews things up in unexpected ways. "Ebhofolo (This Madness)" features emphatic vocals strung across swinging bitonal harmony, with some elegant call-and-response playing as well as extended improvisations which vary at times from animal noises to impassioned cries. Perhaps the most dissonant piece on the record, this tune relies on a deeper inner logic to steer it forward. Subsequent efforts bring out references to tribal melodies, dance hall swing, bossa nova, and a variety of other influences. One has the feeling here not just of cross-fertilization, but a strong compositional focus on emotive expression. Ngqawana's saxophone and flute playing, in particular, harnesses a wonderful inner energy to communicate a message transcending style or nationality.

Visit Sheer Sound and Zim Ngqawana on the web.

Track Listing: Ingoma Ya Kwantu: Invocation, Royal Drumming, Resolution; Intlombe Variations: Diviners Ceremony, Ebhofolo (This Madness), Bantu (Rainbow Nation); Abaphantsi (Ancestry Suite): Sud Afrika (A Country Without A Name), Ode to Princess Magogo (Classical Composer), Old Blues (Early Harmonic Devices), Compassion (Ubuntu); www.kwantunent.com (aka African Continent); Ballroom Dance Suite: Man and Woman (Duality of Life), Man (A Dying Father Figure), Two To Tangle (Challenges of Life); Celebrations: Chisa (Wedding Festivities), Gobbliesation (In A Global Village), Beautiful Love (It's All About Love).

Personnel: Zim Ngqawana: soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones, alto, picolo, and c-flutes, harmonica, bicycle bells, chimes, whistles, vocals, and piano; Andile Yenana: piano, vocals; Herbie Tsoaeli: bass, vocals; Kevin Gibson: drums, percussion.

Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Sheer Sound | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Double Septet" CD/LP/Track Review Double Septet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Points of View" CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Troy Collins
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Celebrating Elvin Jones" CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating Elvin Jones
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "New York Connections" CD/LP/Track Review New York Connections
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "As it Was" CD/LP/Track Review As it Was
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 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!