Third Round

Third Round

The French drummer Manu Katché was first exposed to a larger audience in the ‘80s, when he played with Peter Gabriel and Sting. He’s since gone on to collaborate with a wide variety of musicians, and has also established himself as a solo artist. Katché, who has roots in the Ivory Coast, draws from his classical training and African traditions to create a distinctive sound on his instrument. 2010’s Third Round is his third release for the ECM label, and he composed all eleven of its tracks. The core group — Katché, electric bassist Pino Palladino, pianist Jason Rebello, and saxophonist Tore Brunborg — performs the album’s highly refined version of light jazz with great skill. (Guitarist Jacob Young appears on four cuts and Kami Lyle lends trumpet to two tracks, and sings on “Stay With You.”) “Swing Piece” opens with lyrical piano and breathy tenor sax, before the rhythm section enters, providing a modern sense of swing. Katché’s drumming on “Keep On Trippin’” is superb, propelling the band in ever-inventive ways, but he never shows off. In fact, this excellent percussionist sits out the reflective closer, “Urban Shadow.”

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