The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - John McBeath

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.

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