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Album Review

Nkenya, Zimbabwe /and The New Jazz – “Zimbabwe Nkenya and The New Jazz ” – [High Mayhem]

Max Level   4/8/2006   CD, Jazz

First-rate jazz out of New Mexico. Nkenya, an extremely able bassist, leads his fine group (bass, drums, trumpet, soprano saxophone) through a smoking live set. He wrote all of the pieces here except one. The group can gallop off into free jazz and improv conversation as well as anyone, but the action always happens within the context of tight, well thought out compositions that know exactly where they are going. Alto saxophonist Rob Brown, out of NYC, sits in with Nkenya and drummer Dave Wayne for a nice long trio excursion on track 8. The set begins (tracks 1 & 2) and ends (tracks (9 & 10) with evocative solo bass work by Nkenya, who even on his own keeps things quite interesting. A group calling itself ‘The New Jazz? had better be able to deliver something pretty special, and this group does just that. Very satisfying.

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