David Murray / David Murray & the Gwo-Ka Masters

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Yonn-Dé Review

by David R. Adler

Avant-garde tenor icon David Murray continues to explore the music of the African diaspora on Yonn-Dé, focusing on percussion and vocal traditions from Guadeloupe. Three masters of gwo ka music -- vocalist Guy Konket and percussionist/vocalists Klod Kiavué and François Ladrezeau -- appear alongside Murray, trumpeter Hugh Ragin, trombonist Craig Harris, bassist Santi Debriano, and drummer Pheeroan akLaff. Guy Konket composed all the music and it is remarkable. Based on extended vamps that are repetitive but by no means stagnant, these tracks draw upon the ecstatic dance vibe of Afro-beat and the majestic cry of the blues in equal measure. Sometimes the vocal parts become the percussion, as on "Onomatopée," a striking dialogue between the voices and Murray's bass clarinet. "Nwél'o" and "La Pli La" are irrepressibly funky and fast; "On Jou Maten" and "Youyou" are mellower and more hypnotic, but every bit as grooving. It is Santi Debriano who proves to be the beating heart of the entire project, lending harmonic shape and direction and making every track a unique journey.

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