On Africa N'da Blues, percussionist Kahil El'Zabar writes the next chapter in his continuing study of the music that shaped the future of jazz. His previous Delmark album, Conversations (Delmark 514), brought tenor saxist Archie Shepp into the setting of his Ritual Trio, establishing a cross-generational bridge between that 1960s firebrand and El'Zabar's 20-year-old trio. Now the Ritual Trio featuring bassist Malachi Favors and saxist/pianist Ari Brown, does the same with tenor great Pharaoh Sanders, who like Shepp represents a direct link to the central figure of the avant-garde, John Coltrane. Sanders has experienced an unexpected renaissance in the '90s, but he has rarely sounded as he does here, challenged by three musicians who, while drawing significantly on his influence, are leaders in their own right.

Song List:
1. Ka-Real (Take 2)
2. Africanos/Latinos
3. Miles' Mode
4. Autumn LEaves
5. Africa N'da Blues
6. Pharoah's Song
7. Ka-Real (Take 1)

Reaction Report:

"Africa N'da Blues features three great AACM members, drummer Kahil El'Zabar, bassist Malachi Favors, and saxophonis/pianist Ari Brown, as well as guest saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. With Brown spending most of his time on piano, the music presented here has a classic quartet sound, while the playing, as is often the case with AACM musicians, reflects a deep knowledge of the jazz tradition without losing the adventurous precepts of improvisation. Sanders' sound is particularly lively here, playing with a robust multiphonic tone that recalls his work of the '60s and '70s. El'Zabar pens most of the album's material, but there are also versions of Coletrane's "Miles Mode" and a bop take on the standard "Autumn Leaves." Rating: MUST HEAR."

-CMJ New Music Report

Albums featuring Kahil El'Zabar...


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