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Neighbourhood

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Album Review

The superb French/Ivory Coast drummer Manu Katche, long a backing force on many ECM sessions, steps out on his own for the first time on this label and comes up with a gem — with a little help from some of the ECM stars. Indeed, "Neighbourhood" is a very appropriate title, for there are several interlocking orbits of personnel within this album. For a start, the CD marks another collaboration between trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and saxophonist Jan Garbarek, the latter whom Katche has been backing on and off since the early '90s. Moreover Stanko brought along part of his Polish rhythm team, pianist Marcin Wasilewski and bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz, for the session. Michel Petrucciani is clearly on Katche's mind, for not only is the album dedicated to the late pianist, the reflective, ardently lyrical mood of Katche's compositions — and Wasilewski's piano work — are quite reminiscent of Petrucciani at his most relaxed. And Katche can write; his tunes are often wistful and thoughtful, his percussive backing crisp yet subtle, carefully filling in the cracks while keeping just enough of a gentle pulse. The best of the lot, the simple angular tune of "Good Influence," grabs you by the throat, tugs at your heart, and doesn't quit the memory — sure signs of greatness. By contrast, "Lovely Walk" kicks up the tempo behind an ostinato bass while "Take Off and Land" brings in a touch of fatback funk. If there is a single wellspring behind this music — besides Petrucciani of course — Herbie Hancock's acoustic combo recordings of the late '60s come closest in terms of ambience and harmony. Call this album an inspired descendant two generations and an ocean away. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Neighbourhood

A stellar collection of musicians combine to produce a superb album rich in texture. Manu's percussion underpins the whole thing in an understated yet dynamic way (check out Number One and Lullaby). Garbarek's sax is at times extremely mellow and is wonderfully counterpointed by Stanko's trumpet. Wasilewski on piano and Kurkeiweicz on Double Bass round out an excellent grouping of artists that do more than justice to the acoustic jazz compositions composed by Manu. Could become a classic.

Katche has exquisite taste in partners.

Wasilewski is the star of the show here -- as he's been on the last two Stanko records. I love Tomasz Stanko. He is the dean of Polish (perhaps all east european) jazz musicians. But his role here is limited, as is Jan G's. Kurkiewicz is typically understated and rock steady. As Mr. Levin said "the right notes, and only the right notes." But Wasilewski's understated but enormously persuasive melodicism carries the day. Katche is, of course, up front in the mix. He sounds great, no doubt about that. But to me he's misplaced in his own session. This collection of players (and, I know, for the last ten years Jan Garbarek has been doing his new-age smoothie thing -- but he was cutting edge for a time, way out front, and tends to turn it up with Stanko) requires a less driving pulse. I'd rather hear this band with Paul Motian, Jon Christensen or Tony Oxley. Not that Manu is bad -- he's tops at his own schtick. But "killing the pulse in favor of musicality" would be an interesting ethic for him to follow for a while.

get it and enjoy...

sweetly done... no common fabric, just some stellar guys doing it well.

Biography

Born: 1958 in St. Maure des Fosses, France

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Drummer Manu Katche blossomed as a contemporary jazz drummer and band leader, emerging in the mid-2000s after having played with his share of popular musicians. Born in Saint Maur Des Fossés, France on October 27, 1958, he studied classical piano at age seven in Paris, and at age 15 enrolled at the Conservatorie Nationale de Paris. He then became a session and concert drummer with a wide range of groups, but in the mid-'80s, Katche's stock rose considerably, thanks to his involvement with the touring...
Full Bio
Neighbourhood, Manu Katché
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 26, 2005

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