Pierre Dørge's New Jungle Orchestra

Even the Moon Is Dancing

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In a similar vein as Norwegian drummer Bengt Berger's earlier releases, Danish guitarist Pierre Dorge marries contemporary jazz improvisers of a free-ish bent with melodic ideas stemming from West African music, particularly that of Ghana. Dorge also folds in certain aspects of early jazz (Ellington's "The Mooche" is covered here) and, when everything works, the result can be intoxicating. On "Suho Ning Samo," an irresistibly infectious melody is buttressed by fine solo work from Morten Carlsen on tarogato and the leader's clear, singing, immediately recognizable guitar, the sound of which appears to owe something to African kora players. The title track also works well as a strong framework for the soloists, with punchy horn riffs supporting able contributions from altoist Jesper Zeuthen and deep ruminations from the great South African bassist Johnny Dyani. When things bog down, it tends to be for lack of rhythmic drive. Unlike Berger, who utilized a stable of fiery percussionists, the drumming on this record, when uninspired by a great melody, becomes lackluster and dragging. Still, the plusses outweigh the negatives and, overall, this is perhaps Dorge's finest release with a large ensemble.

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