- And while this may be his first recording connecting Siegel to the Xhosa, it is certainly imbued with the studied grace and nobility of Xhosa tonal language, reflected in the breathtaking use of pitch to inflect every stroke of the stick, brush and mallet on the resonating cymbal and fervent votive tattooed on the taut skin of Siegel’s drums. It’s not hard to be completely seduced by the music of King of Xhosa by Jeff “Siege” Siegel. You don’t have to know that Siegel played with Bheki Mseleku or Abdullah Ibrahim; simply allow Siegel’s stunning percussion colouring to do the needful.
- Jeff “Siege” Siegel’s shows a masterful grasp of the many-splendoured tonal language of the Xhosa, a facet of his music that is displayed in the brilliance of the writing and in the performances by the wonderful soloists in this ensemble
- He also taps into the subtle arts of his fellow performers, especially the flugelhorn player Feya Faku and tenor saxophonist Erica Lindsay, with Fred Berryhill pitching in with a sun splashed palette of his own on “Totem”, “Prayer”, “King of Xhosa” “Call To Spirits” and “Umngqungqo”. Together with those players as well as bassist Rich Syracuse and pianist Francesca Tanksley, Siegel has created a benchmark performance of music in the Xhosa idiom.
- Erica Lindsay is a force of nature throughout. She is always ahead of the curve both in profoundly slow as well as breakneck tempi. Her arabesques on “Gotta Get To It” and “Call To Spirits” drive the solo saxophone parts right up into the stratosphere, sometimes in a slow dance with the other members of the ensemble. She takes the palm with her effortless playing.
- The true jewel of this recording is Jeff “Siege” Siegel on “King of Xhosa” and “Umngqungqo”. However grand the choruses, however reckless the solos, Siegel draws power from the many levels of tone textures of the Xhosa ;language, here, uniquely restored in all its Jazz glory.
Raul da Gama
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