Review: Gilfema + 2

ObliqSound (2009)
By JON GARELICK  |  January 6, 2009
3.5 3.5 Stars

With rising jazz-guitar star Lionel Loueke in the mix, Gilfema are shaping up to be a jazz supergroup. On their second disc, you can hear why: just about every piece is drawn with the clear outlines of simple folkloric melodies (often sung wordlessly by the Benin-born Loueke) and dancelike rhythms. Yet within those outlines they build dense weaves of contrapuntal lines and driving cross-rhythms. The "+ 2" in this case are the B-flat clarinet of Anat Cohen and the bass clarinet of former Charlie Hunter Trio reedman John Ellis, both providing dark-hued ensemble color and provocative solos. The opener, "Twins," is emblematic: soft acoustic strumming and brushes introduce a light African-flavored melody with responding clarinet riffs. The form builds with each repetition, Loueke's tone shifting to a more electric-jazz bite, his steel-drum-like chorusing effect, and finally some whiplash "out" harmonies amid the collective din. Loueke, bassist Massimo Biolcati, and drummer Ferenc Nemeth all contribute compositions, and the result is more than jazzy Afropop (Biolcati's "One Mind's Eye" is like a mini concerto for two clarinets) — a durable, varied, distinct ensemble identity.

GILFEMA + 2 with John Ellis and Joris Roelofs | Regattabar, Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge | January 14 at 7:30 pm | 617.395.7757

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  Topics: CD Reviews , Lionel Loueke, Lionel Loueke, Anat Cohen,  More more >
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