South African drummer Makaya Ntshoko has been around the jazz scene for decades, appearing as a sideman with a number of prominent artists, including Dexter Gordon plus fellow South AfricansAbdullah Ibrahim and Hugh Masakela. Unfortunately, few of the drummer's own groups stayed together long enough to record, due to his musicians' other obligations. But Ntshoko's New Tsotsis had been working together for two years prior to these live performances recorded in 2006 at Birdseye Jazz Club in Basel, Switzerland. The drummer's sauntering "Bebbi" is a subtle African-flavored ballad, highlighted by Andy Scherrer's lyrical, spacious tenor sax. Ntshoko digs deeply into four pieces by free jazz composer Ornette Coleman, all tunes that haven't been performed all that often. The leader shines as the featured soloist in the explosive "Happy House." This well-recorded live date gives the listener the feeling of having a front row seat surrounded by an appreciative, quiet audience. Highly recommended!
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden