Multi-instrumentalist and composer Kali Fasteau plays an exotic array of free jazz and world rhythms for trio and quintet on Comraderie. Accompanied by such world-class players as Joe McPhee and drummer Warren Smith, She matches her male counterparts note-for-note on this exciting palette of musical experiences. A product of extensive world travels and excellent musical training, Kali Fasteau composed all 14 songs, which were recorded in a studio session and live in concert in 1997. Her trio session with Bobby Few on piano and Michael Wimberly on percussion feature her playing soprano saxophone, nai (a Moroccan end-blown reed flute) and Kaval flutes, sheng (a Chinese mouth organ), and cello. The quintet date with Noah Howard on alto sax, Joe McPhee on tenor sax, Sonelius Smith, on piano and Warren Smith on drums unite Kali Fasteau with highly evolved improvisations that approach her artistic freedom with wide open sounds and impressive ranges. The use of her voice as an additional instrument on "Whispersong" provides an unusual layer of aural energy to her sax and sheng spontaneity while providing an uncommon perspective of this concept. "Ethiopia" shimmers with spirituality, nuance, and African rhythms, as if the music is playing her. Fasteau reaches an ambitious pinnacle on Comraderie and displays great chops throughout this set.
AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein