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Third ECM album by French-African drummer Manu Katché, following the best selling 'Neighbourhood' and 'Playground'. 'Third Round' features a completely revised ensemble line-up, but is faithful to a group concept that The Guardian described as "beautifully mutated grooves and jazzy themes", with all participants elevated by the physical presence of Katché's beats and drum patterns.
Once again, all music is written by Manu, and his insinuating melodies testify to parallel lives in pop and jazz. The album was recorded in the South of France with producer Manfred Eicher.
A drummer renowned worldwide for his collaborations with pop singers from Sting and Peter Gabriel to Youssou N'Dour, Manu Katché is seen regularly throughout Europe with his Arte channel jam music TV show "One Shot Not". He's a star of the first magnitude in France, and has also - since his affiliation with ECM began - become a force to be reckoned with in jazz. His ECM debut 'Neighbourhood' won the Album of the Year prize of the German record critics amongst many other awards. Additionally, his participation in Jan Garbarek's projects, including the widely-praised live album 'Dresden' has underscored the singularity of his drum approach.
Welsh-born bass guitar legend Pino Palladino has played with Eric Clapton, the Who, Jeff Beck, Paul Simon, Chaka Khan and many other major figures in rock/pop/soul. Jazz and blues and associations range from BB King to Roy Hargrove. Pianist Jason Rebello, once described by UK critic Stuart Nicholson as "probably the finest young jazz musician this country has produced", has played with Gary Burton and Branford Marsalis, and his 1990 debut album was produced by Wayne Shorter. Norwegian saxophonist Tone Brunborg is well-known to followers of ECM from his work with the band Masqualero to the current Tord Gustavsen Ensemble. Guesting are Norwegian/American guitarist Jacob Young, and American singer/songwriter/trumpeter Kami Lyle who adds vocals to "Stay with You", for which she also wrote the lyrics.
Personnel: Manu Katché (drums), Pino Palladino (bass), Jason Rebello (piano), Tore Brunborg (saxohones), Jacob Young (guitars), Kami Lyle (voice, trumpet)
(5 stars) Contemporary jazz that anyone could like...an overall mood of soulfulness and sensitivity...Definitely one of the albums of the year.
-- The Independent On Sunday, (Phil Johnson), March 21 2010
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Third Round is the best he has produced. For me, the essence of his best tracks is the presence of a tune, a melody that captures me and to which they can return during the track. He has created many tracks that do that, most of which are on this CD. These tracks raise the hairs on the back of my neck. Other pieces are invariably pyrotechnic and impressive, but lack charm and don't gain traction.
He has a choice at this point. They can drift to the less accessible areas of jazz or return to Third Round type territory. I would prefer the latter. Actually, I would like them to try re-arranging some classics, in the way that Martin Taylor did on "Kiss and Tell". Manu Katche doesn't have to create every track (even though it is good for recording rights....). Their arrangement and elaboration of great music would be exciting.
A special CD.
Anyway, each to their own, if we all like the same music, life would be jolly dull!
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