Zimbabwe Nkenya is a superb New Mexico-based, bass violinist who aligns himself with good company on this live set recorded in Santa Fe. With East Coast alto saxophonist Rob Brown on one track to complement the quartet’s enthusiastic approach to modern jazz improvisation, Kenya shines as an idea-man whether soloing or laying down the groove.
He opens the proceedings with an extended arco solo highlighting his lyrical sensibilities, energetic spirit and multifaceted frameworks. On "African Effect," the ensemble kicks it into high-gear atop drummer Dave Wayne’s snappy rim-shots and boogaloo like tom-tom patterns.
At times the musicians engage in stop/start motifs while affording themselves ample soloing opportunities along with briskly stated unison lines. In other spots, the quartet delves into dark corners and narrow alleyways via a combination of frenetic choruses and tightly integrated movements. Trumpeter Dan Pearlman and soprano saxophonist Chris Jonas trade intense fours as the band covers lots of divergent musical terrain including but not limited to, free-jazz, African rhythmic interludes, free-bop and swing. They even venture into some playful skronk, comprised of turbulent sonic assaults and migrations into the stratosphere.
Kenya closes out the set with a dramatic walking and strutting type solo, where he toggles between bowed bass lines and fervent plucking maneuvers. Essentially, he’s conversing with himself under the guise of a dual role. Nonetheless, this is a happening affair, teeming with fertile soundscapes and gobs of impact! (Recommended.... )