June 2005

David Murray and the Gwo-Ka Masters
June 24, 2005BenQ World StageToronto
Report by David Fujino with Photos by Roger Humbert

David Murray

Under the blinding anvil of the sun, David Murray and the Gwo-Ka Masters burned with a compelling Afro intensity.

Murray 's 5-piece group — which features Jaribu Shahid double bass, Herve Sambe guitar, Klod Kiavu and Francois Ladrezeau on Gwo-Ka drums and voices, and T.J. Lewis jazz drums — proceeded to storm the sonic space and speak jubilantly in tongues.

In this latest edition of David Murray's ongoing reclamation project — the bringing together of far-flung musicians of African ancestry — we found the remarkable reedman improvising enthusiastically on folk forms from the Caribbean culture of Guadeloupe.

Thankfully, from out of this thick pounding Afro sizzle, Herve Sambe's bright guitar slashes, ringing chords and a propulsive rhythmic scratching momentarily pull us away from the incredibly assertive musical din of the group.

When David Murray plays, he dominates, he cries out, etching his melodies in the tenor's high altissimo range. Herve's lines and intentions switch-switch between rhythm and solo guitar, and Kiavu and Ladrezeau sing and play the hell out of their Gwo-ka hand drums. And always very present, there's the rock-steady and fluent bass tones of Jaribu Shahid and the fully engaged T.J. Lewis supervising on high sticking jazz drums.

David Murray and the Gwo-Ka Masters demand a lot from an audience, but they in turn gave us, and the jazz festival, a huge jolt of Afro heat.

Herve Sambe
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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Roger Humbert
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