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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2012
Judging from other reviews, I was not alone in thinking that Katché's previous three albums saw a gradual decline from the faultless first half of "Neighbourhood" through "Playground" to "Third Round." I am only too delighted to be able to report a return to form featuring a new band, without a bass player (a departure for Katché) and the interesting mix of Nils Petter Molvaer's haunting trumpet, Tore Brunborg on saxophone and Jim Watson on piano and Hammond.

I should state that, for all the undeniable fluency and ease with which he plays, I do not think that Katché is always recorded to his best advantage and the fact that I remain deeply equivocal about the sound of the Hammond organ. That the album is frequently fantastic is a tribute to Katché's compositional skills and the skill, sensitivity and sympathy of all four musicians.

"The Running Years" begins proceedings magnificently. Katché has the stage to himself for over 30 seconds before Watson enters in piano with one of the chromatic motifs which feature throughout. After a similar passage of time Brunborg and Molvaer enter and by two minutes have passed the latter is truly soaring.

Rather than settle for a generic jazz funk sound (to which "Playground" and "The Third Round" succumbed) Watson coaxes an spare, atmospheric sound from the organ which complements Molvaer, in particular on the aptly-named and contemplative "Bliss" while "Imprint" is a thing of understated beauty, featuring Katche's least propulsive but most atmospheric percussion the backbone of a performance which is more than the sum of its parts.

The lengthiest track is "Beats and Bounce". The first five minutes is based around an eleven note left hand piano riff and features Brunborg's most in your face playing. It's all fine stuff but somewhat dangerously close to the blueprint of Katché's two previous releases. Five minutes in, this time the riff is on Hammond and then Molvaer, who had hitherto exercised saintly restraint, ghosts in with his arresting palette. While the brilliance of the second half of "Beats and Bounce" has the unfortunate consequence of making the first five minutes seem all the more conventional , it is still a great device.

If truth be told, it is Molvaer who is crucial in supressing the nods to genre and elevates the release but "Dusk on Carnon", a piano solo by Katché, is a touching elegiac concluding note which reinforces the fact that this is his baby, and a very attractive one at that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2013
After having listened to the album several times and having seen Manu Katche' performing live at Ronnie Scott's on Tuesday 22, I think the latest work from this talented musician is one of the best jazz albums I have listed to in the last 2-3 years. I know Katche' from the time he was playing with Peter Gabriel - I saw him live in the '90s - and I didn't found his solo work - Neighbourhood and more recently Third round - particularly interesting, the talent is obvious but the ideas were few and far between and the style not particularly involving.
This last work is completely different: Katche' is a great composer, his drumming is excellent and his band mates are incredible musicians too.
At the live gig Nils Petter Molvær was replaced by the Italian trumpet player Luca Aquino, which was a great discovery.
Wholeheartedly recommended
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2013
I'm a drummer myself and therefore reasonable number of CD's in my collection feature drummer led bands ( Weckl, Colaiuta, Erskine, DeJohnette, Cobham, Smith etc). I've had 'It's About Time' by Manu Katche for many years since hearing him play with Sting back in the 1990's. That album was very much a 'pop' album featurung Katche on vocals and with the likes of Sting and Peter Gabriel accompanying. Back then his playing stood out for me due to it's delicacy and precision. Something that the great quality of this ECM recording highlights perfectly. Backed by a great ensemble this really is a CD to play again and again. On the first day of ownership a couple of tracks have made it straight into the 'top drawer jazz' folder on my itunes library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2012
"Manu Katché" is a very solid album by the man himself and on level par with 2010' "Third Round". Other reviewers have already written useful reviews with lots of info. My reasons for writing are the soundscapes that trumpetplayer Nils Petter Molvaer delivers on this album. They remind me so very much of the trumpet playing by Jon Hassell on David Sylvian's sublime "Brilliant Trees" from 1984 that it sometimes feels as if bonus tracks for the Sylvian album have been discovered.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2013
I guess if you want some smooth background sounds with which to finish up the cognac and conversation then this pretty much fits the bill. Personally I prefer a listening experience with more of an edge to it, more of a challenge. Guess I'm in the minority (again) on this one....but I can't help but recommend Christian Scott's 'Rewind That' as a more original, gutsy alternative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2012
The inclusion of the Hammond organ on this album have given it a completely different feel to previous work yet still with the same unmistakable Katche touch. If you like smooth jazz with an interesting difference then this is for you
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on 29 May 2014
Even if you don't know his name, you'll probably heard his playing. He has guested on many of my favourite tracks - 'Somewhere down the crazy river', Sledgehammer', 'Planet of New Orleans' - I could go on and on. He has a very particular style of drumming that has a lot of intricate cymbal work - very hard to describe, you really need to listen to it.

His solo work is a very listenable jazz and if you've never experienced it try a sample by googling Youtube.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2012
I have the first two Manu Katche ECM albums,both of which are great.His last album left me cold,too smooth.This latest offering really delivers the goods.Smooth, but punchy,plenty of detail,as well as excellent sound quality.Definitely a keeper!
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on 13 October 2013
Really nice accomplished playing that I found to be very relaxing to listen to. Evening music to chill out to.
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on 15 June 2015
Beautifully delivered rhythmic modern jazz - gets a lot of time on my disc-player. Recommended.
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