Manu Katché - Playground

ECM 173 7321    ****
Manu Katché (d); Mathias Eick (t); Trygve Seim (ts; ss); Marcin Wasilewski (p); Slawomir Kurkiewicz (b) with David Torn (g) on two tracks. Rec. date not stated
Manu Katché - Playground
The rock drummer Manu Katché (Sting, Peter Gabriel et al) first appeared on the ECM label with Jan Garbarek, making his debut as a leader with Neighbourhood which received the Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallpattenkritik award and was album of the year in France’s Jazz Magazine as well as the recipient of several other awards. It is fair to say then, that Katché has made a hugely successful transition into jazz, and more particularly has defined a musical personality that sits well with the ECM label.

This music on Playgound takes up where Neighbourhood left off, albeit with some changes in personnel and more tightly focussed musical moods; here is beautifully burnished, rounded melodies woven with solos that take up where the melody leaves off, an almost perfect integration of the written and the improvised. Whether the moody “Lo” or the more outgoing ‘So Groovy’ each musician is firmly aware of the meaning of the music and their purpose within it, shaping their contribution to suit the music’s construction. Everybody pulls together with selfless music making creating an instant classic.
Stuart Nicholson