October 2003


Abdoulaye N'Diaye - "Taoué"

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Against the insistent, infectious African rhythms and vocal injections by Tidiane Gaye, Senegalese saxophonist Abdoulaye N'Diaye displays an amazing facility as he soars over the blend of unfamiliar instrumentation on the opening "Aduna" and the following number "Taoué", which serves as the group's name (taken from a local river). Reeds and percussion dominate the performances.

Produced by tenor saxophonist David Murray, the musicians include a troupe of African players and Americans: Jaribu Shahid - bass, Hamid Drake - drums, Dave Burrell - piano. The intermingling of cultures becomes especially evident in the melodically infused pieces such as "Xarrit Sama", the standard "Darn That Dream", or the bop-like "Cobb's Cat" written by on of N'Diaye's more influential teachers, Sam Sanders, and N'Diaye's own composition "Wakhtane". One detects early traces from his past of Parker, Cultrate, and Rollins, revealing that "His music is well-rooted in classic jazz". An exciting debut for a promising young player. J.S.

Justin Time JUST 168-2

Andrew Hill - "A Beautiful Day"

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For many years, Chicago born Andrew Hill has been a groundbreaking pianist and composer. His unique approach to playing and compositional style has been compared to that of the great Thelonious Monk. "A Beautiful Day", Hill's second recording on the Palmetto label, is a follow up to the highly successful and most acclaimed, "Dusk". However, unlike "Dusk", which featured a sextet, "A Beautiful Day" boasts a sixteen-piece ensemble, and was recorded in January 2002 before a live audience at Birdland.

After repeated listening, I found this to be an interesting recording, with improvisational elements of John Cultrate and Eric Dolphy. On "New Pinnochio" the narrative track, there are some elements of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman". While "Faded Beauty" on the other hand is blessed with a radiant, thought sometimes haunting, but masterfully controlled flute solo by John Savage.

Another nice feature of this recording is the musical combination of tuba and baritone saxophone with Hill's creative and sophisticated playing to create a layered sound, which is very beautiful and pleasant. Drummer Nasheet Waits performance is a stand out, as indicated on "Bellezza". This is a recording that presents a different concept; while at the same time challenges the listener to a higher level of understanding. C.S.

Palmetto PAM 2085

Elek Bacsik - "Guitar Conceptions"

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Guitarist Bacsik, though one of the most renowned performers in Paris during the 50's and 60's, one of the first "…to make an intelligent compromise between gypsy soul and American style", has faded almost into obscurity from the annals of jazz. Born in Hungary of gypsy origin, he made his mark at Paris' Mars Club in pianist Art Simmons trio (c1959). Influenced by visiting American jazzmen, especially Parker, Gillespie and guitarist Laurindo Almeida, he finally went to the U.S. in 1966, but despite efforts by producer Bob Thiele, "…met with little success". This CD, recorded in Paris (1963) with Guy Pedersen - bass, and Daniel Humair - drums, captures him at the height of his creative genius. Drawn from many sources, the 12 numbers reflect a variety of moods - a boppish swing to George Shearing's "Conception", a touching lyricism with "Tenderly" and his own "La Saison des Pluies", a Brazilian flavour to his tribute to Almeida on "Loin du Bresil", matching guitar roles on Cannonball Adderley's "Work Song" or Dave Brubeck's "Three to Get Ready", a smattering of gypsy soulfulness to Miles Davis' "So What" or Gordon Jenkins familiar "Goodbye". Highly recommended listening. J.S.

Gitanes 542 231-2

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