Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Monday 17th November
The Manu Katché Band deliver their own brand of pristine grooves with such consummate ease one cannot help be seduced, and give in to the warm vibe. From the moment the opening track 'November 99' hit cruising speed, the battle for hearts and minds was already won.
The set consisted of tracks from the 'Neighborhood' and 'Playground' albums, the simple arrangements of which are a masterclass in understated and economical tune writing. The tracks were lovingly played, each note shaped, caressed and gently passed over to us. Norwegian players Mathias Eick on trumpet and Trygve Seim on saxophone executed the graceful horn lines with crystal clear precision and just the right amount of intensity. Jason Rebello was a revelation on piano. Making almost continuous eye contact with Katché, he steered the music's harmonic backbone expertly with crafted quotients of soul, mystery and muscle, all metered out in perfect proportions. The energy levels notched up a gear during a surging grooved interlude where Rebello took the opportunity to do his funky blues thing. Double bass player Jerome Regard nailed down the bottom end with minimum fuss and maximum impact.
Review reproduced courtesy of the London Jazz Festival and Jazzwise Magazine.