Stephane Kerecki Trio: Houria

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COMPOSERS: Stephane Kerecki Trio
LABELS: Zig Zag Territories
PERFORMER: Stéphane Kerecki (bass), Matthieu Donarier (sax), Thomas Grimmonprez (drums), with Tony Malaby (percussion)
CATALOGUE NO: 090401

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This disc drops you straight into a hazy trance of North-African influenced jazz, with its exhilarating opener ‘Macadam’ – one of those tracks that immediately stands out as a classic.

French double-bassist Stéphane Kerecki’s trio, who met while studying at the Paris Conservatoire, are now on their third album, and joined by US saxophonist Tony Malaby, a former sideman of Charlie Haden. It’s an extremely confident project, driven by its spirit of exotic musical adventure. 

Kerecki, who has worked with Algerian vocalist Djamel Allam, creates a constantly shifting yet rhythmically focused musical soundscape which is at times uplifting, or eerie and melancholic (‘Secret d’oreille’), darkly brooding (‘Palabre’), or serenely reflective (‘A L’air libre’).

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He also pays homage to the sacred music of French composer Messiaen in ‘O Sacrum Convivium’. Appropriately entitled Houria, Arabic for ‘freedom’, this disc makes for a liberating listen. Neil McKim