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Kahil El’Zabar’s Ritual Trio: Live at the River East Art Center

Delmark’s first-ever DVD offers a sensational 2004 live set from percussionist Kahil El’Zabar’s Ritual Trio, filmed in a Chicago art space as painters and sculptors worked around the group. Expanded to a quartet with guest violinist Billy Bang, the band dives into El’Zabar’s propulsive compositions with unbounded energy. Saxophonist Ari Brown slides gracefully through winding melodies, his tone smooth and growling, while bassist Yosef Ben Israel’s foundation never wavers. Bang is typically stunning, ripping out soulful bowings and sharp plucks with an ever-widening smile. El’Zabar ties it all into a tight knot with wiry drumming, hypnotic kalimba loops and vigorous reactive chants. Delmark’s film crew moves above, around and through the quartet, building a visual rhythm that complements the group’s divine fervor, making Live at the River East Art Center a flawless fusion of picture and sound.

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