MARKUS SCHWARTZ - TANBOU NAN LAKON BROOKLYN (2008)
A jazz suite encompassing a fusion of black musical languages
Fourteen years after his solo debut "Simido", percussionist Markus Schwartz delivers another astonished and complex album inspired mostly from his rich experience with the Haitian culture as a whole. Released on November 1st, 2008, "Tanbou Nan Lakou Brooklyn" represents another gem to add to the royal crown of the rich Haitian Musical Experience. The drummer/percussionist ventures down complex avenues and calls on old musician friends and Jazz talents from the New York/international jazz scene to put his ideas into acoustic sounds and expressive colors.
Flanked by an impressive cast of highly qualified musicians, Mr. Schwartz, meticulously assembled a collection of past experiences stamped by profound, comprehensive Lakou learning and a clear vision for a multi-form black musical language; an eclectic expression of the Black Diaspora. From a first look we might tend to doubt the effectiveness of such a choice. Putting so many talented musicians together to produce so many different pieces could lead to a different result than the one intended. But as we listen to this second opus from the co-founder of acclaimed Haitian Jazz band Mozayik, we simply marvel at the wondrous interaction by the entire roster of players, sans the intrusion of the cult of personality. The diverse aspect of the line-up is instrumental in this achievement.
KariJazz salutes the open character of this album as well. Every musician was provided a significant space to bestow elegant statements that enrich their already prosperous repertoire. Samba Erol Josue, one of our most beautiful voices, continued to reach new heights especially in both versions of the incantation "Sam Fè Moun Yo Bondye".
The late Jean Claude Garoute, with a cavernous voice, preambles "Seremoni Tiga" and provokes goose bumps for the listener. This piece is a tribute to our late genius of the art. It later reveals an energetic jam between Omicil and Schwarz-Bart rocking their instruments over a funky environment provided by bassist Chico Boyers playing inside the Kavalye Ounto rhythm of Lakou Souvenance. The CD also reveals Markus as a multi-talented musician/vocalist in quest of a unique expression based on a systematic exploration of "Rasin" music associated with various percussive instruments (mbira, sekere, ect…), musical styles and forms. But there is a firm willingness to remain under the Haitian musical umbrella.
The result is a collection of diverse pieces expressing many influences ranging from incantation inspired from our religious patrimony, to straight ahead jazz. The Afro-Haitian Jazz Suite included within this mosaic of styles is beautifully done, especially the soothing Danbala with a lilt of Yanvalou, and the very inviting Cecia based on a refreshing Afro rhythm. The clarity Eddy Bourjolly evinces as he plays on Cecia, no doubt grounded at least in part in his experience playing with Markus for years, instills his playing with love and passion. Exceptional solos by Buyu Ambroise and Jean Caze on Danbala backed up by drummer Jeff Ballard and Ugonna Okegwo , one of the most distinctive and sought-after jazz bassists in the world. These solos are so well done that the listener might not even notice them. They form a cohesive ensemble within the piece. There is a flavor of "Blues in Red" in the rendition of Danbala. Well Done Guys!
KariJazz strongly declares this project is one that every Haitian Jazz/music aficionado should have. Markus delivers here a tribute to Ti Roro and a stupendous homage to the Haitian culture. We are delighted by the orientation of this project since we have been advocating this "back to the roots" to figure out who we are and how we can proudly nurture a unique and original musical expression. To conclude we will borrow a quote from the liner notes by Professor Elizabeth McAlister "This album is like Papa Legba holding a party at the crossroads where the great Haitian Master drummer Ti-Roro meets John Coltrane and they mix it up for a while. Best of all, we get to listen in... a fabulous fusion of Black musical styles that are like languages blended and melted into a fresh and welcome innovation."
1- Jacques Schwarz-Bart is a New York based jazz saxophonist. His music has incorporated rhythm and blues as well as hip hop influences.
2- In Zimbabwean music, the mbira is a musical instrument consisting of a wooden board to which staggered metal keys have been attached. It is often fitted into a deze that functions as a resonator
3- The shekere is a percussion instrument from Africa, consisting of a dried gourd with beads woven into a net covering the gourd.
4- Read more on Alix Buyu Ambroise on this site.
5- Jean Caze ranked 2nd of the 2007 Thelonius Monk Trumpet Competition. You can read more on that on this site
6- Currently Jeff Ballard is a member of the Brad Mehldau Trio, Joshua Redman's Elastic Band, performs periodically with Corea, and is a co-leader of Fly, a collective trio with Mark Turner and Larry Grenadier.
7- Critics across the globe have praised him for his rich tone, supple sense of swing, stylistic range and inventiveness.
Tanbou Nan Lakou Brooklyn features:
Dadi Beaubrun (Boukman Eksperyans/Lataye)
Eddy Francois (Boukman/Boukan Ginen)
Chico Boyers (Foula, Ayibobo)
Erol Josue and James Germain
Eddy Bourjolly (Mozayik)
Buyu Ambroise (Blues in Red)
Jean Caze & Jowee Omicil.
Drummer Jeff Ballard (Chick Corea, Brad Meldau, Joshua Redman),
Tenor sax Jacques Schwarz-Bart (Sone Ka La, Roy Hargrove, D'Angelo)
Bassist Ugonna Okegwo (Tom Harrell, Jacky Terrason, Bruce Barth)
Alphonse Piard, Jr. (ALPI)
November 13, 2008