La Diversite Nicolas Kummert Edition Belgian saxophonist Nicolas Kummert has teamed up with Benin guitarist Lionel Loueke, Belgian bassist Nicolas Tys and Canadian drummer Karl Jannuska, which Kummert describes as his dream band. The 14 tracks are mostly originals, with Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and a couple by Eric Satie. Answering the question “Why Diversity?” Kummert says: “Purity … is an evolutionary dead end. Diversity … is our only way to go.” Many of these tracks have an African influence and Loueke, who has performed with a wide range of top international musicians, plays an important part here supplying rich harmonies, underlying themes and solos of seemingly endless ideas.
Le Vent se Leve (The Wind is Rising) begins with muted, picked rhythm guitar and soft tenor sax, wandering abstractedly to evolve into strong swinging phrases. Another piece, Le Peuple de l’arc-en-ciel (People of the Rainbow) opens with delicate guitar chords to introduce the floating sax. Satie’s Gnossienne (Knowledge of Spiritual Mysteries) opens in a haunting abstraction of tenor sax and percussion with soft guitar chords, and the following track, Gnossienne a deux, continues and expands the theme. A strong rhythmic track, We’ll be Alright, is followed by And What if We’re Not?, a repetitively themed and cautionary questioning number. Harmattan (a combination of harmony and Manhattan?) begins with saxophone soaring above, travelling percussion in six-eight time, and guitar effects, continuing through until its conclusion.