Avant-jazz saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart has created one of a kind album. His third outing Sone Ka La hooks aspects of African dance, Caribbean rhythms, and uptown soul-jazz voicings together to create escapades that are as jumping as a ceremonial bash in Tangier’s Kasbah and as romantically suave as a midnight cruise down the Seine River in Paris. Schwarz-Bart’s first album Immersion began his voyage to discovering world music’s Mecca of rhythmic patterns which led him to his sophomore release The Brother Jacques. His third album is the Bible of world music’s ancient and modern rhythms. Above all, Sone Ka La is a dance album from its jubilant percussive movements which are reminiscent of an Alvin Ailey revival to the smooth jazz trams made for lounging lovers. The album has changing moods that keep the dances in a state of flux and meshing nostalgia with contemporary and making them come together as one.
Born in Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, Schwarz-Bart explains in a press release that he was deeply influenced by the music of his homeland and that his album reflects these influences. "The album is like a novel. It’s rhythmic and melodic story is the history of many styles fusing into a new one with an array of moods and modes." As a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston and as an avid world traveler, Schwarz-Bart studied the rhythmic patterns of music inherent in the cultures of Morocco, Brazil, Cuba, African nations, and the countries of the West. There are episodes of avant chord angles and odd tangents which create hallucinogenic atmospheres like on"Pa Pale" and "Lewoz" There are also smooth jazz phrasings which appear on "Love" and "Descent." Schwarz-Bart creates loose seams and tight whorls with his saxophone keeping in time with the melodic folds and producing sonic images through the changing drum fills. His chameleon skill on the saxophone shows that he is mutable at adjusting his notes to the varying dynamics and instrument tones and grafting a harmonious association.
The atmospheres in the music range from enthusiastic to solemn and pensive. The tropical sways, West Indies accents, and African percussions give the songs added flavor as a nostalgic jazz aura wafts in the air. Produced by Robert Sadin (Herbie Hancock), Sone Ka La is many styles of jazz and ethnic music. Each song has its own mode of dance in conjunction with its rhythmic pattern. The movements vary from tribal, festive and carnival-like to being romantically-hued, ruminating, and gloomy. The album’s multiple features and expressions of fluidity are as diverse as the flora and fauna which grows in Schwarz-Bart’s homeland of Guadeloupe and just as nurturing at building new forms of fascination.