Sunday, June 07, 2020

Peter Brötzmann / Maâlem Moukhtar Gania / Hamid Drake - The Catch of a Ghost (i dischi di angelica records, 2020)

This wonderful amalgamation of free jazz and world music was performed live in Bologna, Italy in May of 2019, featuring Peter Brötzmann on tenor saxophone and tarogato, Maâlem Moukhtar Gania on guembri and vocals and Hamid Drake on drums and percussion. The melding the of European and American strains of free jazz and improvisations with the open ended and hypnotic North African sounds make for a beguiling and compelling album that stands as one of the finest of this blighted year. “To Catch a Ghost” is the opening track and stretches over thirty fascinating and trance inducing minutes, and the guembri played by Gania is a is a three stringed skin-covered instrument that can take the place of a guitar or a bass, anchoring the music and providing a deep rhythmic tone that pulses throughout the performance. Hamid Drake is totally in his element, having a lot of experience in playing reggae and free jazz around the world, he constructs free ranging rhythms, patterns and forms that dance around the music in a delightful fashion, engaging and reaction to the other two musicians. Brotzmann himself is remarkably inspired, focusing on tenor saxophone in this situation, playing long brisk and deep tones that integrate very well with the strings and percussion and the voice of Gania which has a yearning and reaching cadence. This is carried further on “Almost With The Sun” with Brotzmann laying down some withering lines of tenor saxophone with Drake providing a propulsive beat and Gania framing him with bass like lines and vocalizations. The music gets even more exciting and exotic on “Sound That Shimmers” when Brotzmann moves to the Eastern European reed instrument the tarogato which provides a sharp, pinched sound which is thrown into sharp relief when it is framed by the guembri and Drake's atmospheric percussion. Gania's strong vocalizations also a further dimension to this track, creating a multi-cultural delight that proves that jazz and improvisation truly know no bounds. After a resounding round of applause from the audience, the trio completes their performance with “Dip and Dive” where Brotzmann returns to the tenor saxophone and the three musicians perform a rousing collective improvisation that sums up a powerful and extremely successful performance that transitions well to a well recorded and timely album.The Catch of a Ghost - amazon.com

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