Esoteric Antenna (label)
28 May 2021 (released)
17 May 2021
The story of this live album goes back to a collaboration between Steve Hackett (formerly of Genesis) and Hungary’s most acclaimed Jazz bands, Djabe.
They came together in a church in Sardinia and, through a series of improvisations, created ‘Life Is A Journey: The Sardinia Tapes’.
This album captures live selections from that album as well as a number of Genesis and Steve Hackett numbers.
Steve Hackett’s reputation as a solo artist has been established over many years and lately he has turned his hand to re-recording Genesis classics and touring them with a collection of very fine artists, in my opinion taking the music of Genesis on to new heights.
Djabe are a Hungarian Jazz collective and perform their own material, mixing Jazz with Hungarian and African rooted music. The name of the band translates to “Freedom” and their live performances at festivals etc. are often free-form workouts based around their own music.
Put Djabe and Hackett together and the result is magnificent.
Aron Koos-Hutas trumpet and flugelhorn features strongly and works as a brilliant counterpoint to Hackett’s extended guitar work. Attila Egerhazi’s guitar playing has a very different feel to Hackett and so you have two guitarists working off each other for a spellbinding sound. Tamas Barabas bass playing is intense and rich while Pater Kaszas drums and percussion create a huge soundscape for everything to work within. Janos Nagy’s keyboard playing is essential but brilliantly restrained.
It all goes together to create music that has the ability to surprise every time you listen to it.
All the classic Jazz & Fusion elements are there but at no point do you feel the excesses and loss of control that so many fusion outfits display.
Even on a number such as ‘Lava Lamp’ where, across 18 minutes, every member gets an opportunity to display the goods, the rest of the band does a brilliant job of holding tempo and melody and keeping the other players on task.
The Genesis derived numbers – especially ‘Los Endos’ – benefit from the Jazz additions but still keep their original form while the Djabe numbers have Jazz at their heart and move away from the rock sound of Hackett’s own material.
It is a wonderful album, full of intrigue and the sheer joy of seeing six peerless musicians interacting and creating together. One of the best releases for ages.