Jeff 'Siege' Siegel Quartet — King of Xhosa
((Not on label) no#, 2017, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2019-07-07
Drummer Jeff Siegel most likely came to the attention of many listeners due to his work with the Levin Brothers, Tony and Pete, but he’s had a notable career of his own, both as a leader and as a sideman with others. King of Xhosa features his standing quartet of Erica Lindsay (tenor saxophone), Francesca Tanksley (piano), Rich Syracuse (bass), and himself with two guests, Feya Faku (flugelhorn) and Fred Berryhill (percussion). Together, the sextet presents an outstanding set of multi-facetted jazz touching on many streams and traditions. “Totem” starts the album with hand drums and spoken words in Xhosa, a language from southern Africa. Then the full group kicks in with “Prayer,” a sophisticated tune written by Tanksley that starts with meditative tremolo chords on the piano and a soulful melody on the flugelhorn. It then moves into an ensemble section a little reminiscent of Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage material. The title track has a propulsive Afro-Latin rhythm and a catchy bass line; its open-ended chord structure allows for some great soloing from Faku and Lindsay. Through the course of the album, they touch upon post-bop (“Life on the Rock”), rubato melodicism (“Courage”), and much more, with all the participants getting multiple chances to show their capabilities. This is a very fine set of jazz, and should provide pleasures for listeners who favor more traditional sounds as well as those looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
Related artist(s): Jeff 'Siege' Siegel
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