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David Murray and the Gwo-Ka Masters featuring Pharoah Sanders: Gwotet

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On the tantalizing Gwotet, saxophonist David Murray reprises his investigation of the Creole music of Guadeloupe (first explored in 1998 on Creole and four years later with Yonn-De), reuniting with the Gwo-Ka Masters: vocalist-percussionists Klod Kiavue and Francois Ladrezeau and guitarist-vocalists Christian Laviso and Herve Sambe. The integration of the Caribbean island’s indigenous music and instrumentation with American jazz and funk results in intoxicating grooves, itchy polyrhythms, ebullient chants, rich melodies and explosive improvisations.

As a saxophonist, Murray’s improvisational brio can, at times, rival Sonny Rollins’. His brawny tenor often uncoils marathon-length improvisations filled with eruptive shrieks, hearty vibrato, slap-tongue clicks and corkscrew melodies. But Gwotet is as much about funk as it is about jazz. “Djolla Feeling” and the gripping “Ovwa” feature trancelike vibes and joyful vocal injections. The interlocking rhythms of chicken-scratch guitar, percolating percussion and pulsating bass on “Gwotet” recall the progressive funk of Mandrill, while the six-member horn section’s riffs and harmonies bring to mind Earth, Wind & Fire.

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