Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Etienne Mbappe & the Prophets: How Near How Far

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Twisty fusion, low-slung funk and world-music textures all mingle and mix with joyful abandon on How Near How Far, the fourth album led by Etienne Mbappe, the Cameroon-born bassist best known for his work with John McLaughlin’s 4th Dimension, supergroup the Ringers and Joe Zawinul. This time out, he creates his lush soundscapes and hard-driving rhythms with the help of a new band, the Prophets: trumpeter/flugelhornist Arno de Casanove, tenor saxophonist Herve Gourdikian, guitarist Anthony Jambon, pianist Christophe Cravero, violinist Clement Janinet and drummer Nicolas Viccaro.

Mbappe honors two major influences with tunes name-checking them—“Milonga in 7 (to Astor Piazzolla)” salutes the Argentine tango master with a sprightly horns-and-violin melody, an engaging extended solo by Cravero and quick-shifting breaks. “Day Message (to Joe Zawinul),” at more than seven minutes the longest tune here, allies pastel melody lines to percolating bass grooves, unexpected unison riffs and solo turns by Gourdikian and Jambon.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published