Kali Z. Fasteau, Kidd Jordan, Michael T.A. Thompson : People of the Ninth

With People of the Ninth, Kali Z. Fasteau attains another remarkable achievement of stylistic and timbral breadth, in a first-time collaboration with tenor saxophonist (and New Orleans native) Kidd Jordan and percussionist Michael T.A. Thompson. Fasteau is renowned for mastering a multitude of instruments and for her ability to improvise within formats ranging from tightly structured postbop to spontaneous, reductionist free jazz. Here she opts for piano, cello, soprano sax, Nai flute and Aquasonic (a bowed metal jug) to convey the struggles and uncertainty-and hopefully, the ultimate redemption-of the residents of New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, where Jordan and his family lived amongst thousands of others whose homes became buried under the Gulf of Mexico.

Recorded in New Orleans on the late night of Sept. 25, 2005, mere weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, People of the Ninth sonically transposes the tumultuous emotions experienced by Jordan as he braved the destruction with his family, watching others become horrifically neglected and denied. Fasteau taps deeply into this well of emotion and mania, at times mimicking underwater sounds with the Aquasonic, creating the illusion of entrapment and drowning. Jordan’s horn cries for the unfortunate and angrily admonishes the uncaring. The titles (e.g. “Levees, Lies & Lives,” “Rising Winds,” “Rescue Denied,” “Concentration Dome”) chronologically tell this tragic tale, and the music does even more so.