Mark Kavuma and Nubya Garcia – a Great Day in London. Photo: Roger Thomas
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Doleful, foreboding. Don't let me put you off because it's not a misery listen at all. Serious and involving is a better way of approaching this. And you certainly get sucked in to the maelstrom of ideas that demand attention. Anonymous tenor saxophone with guitar underneath and yet interesting double bass cracking the code means that there is a partial mystery to the beginning of Butterflies trio feat. Lionel Loueke. Herbie Hancock guitarist Lionel Loueke gradually comes through on 'Don't Give Up'. That's how the album begins.
The unspooling later in the track when saxophonist Frédéric Borey adds thoughtful soloing is a surprise because the structure of the piece involves a good deal of twisting and turning. The riffing is almost a theme in itself which is novel. Loueke adds his lullaby-like voice on his own piece 'Camille' and the album then becomes more like the Gilfema sound. (The Massimo Biolcati if you like is bassist Damien Varaillon and the Ferenc Nemeth drummer Stéphane Adsuar.) Sax added to the mix works very well and ultimately provides its own identity. I'd love to hear Chris Potter with Gilfema inspired by this. The softness Borey finds is compelling. All three of the Butterflies trio provide compositions on this recording made at the delightfully monikered ''Ohm Sweet Ohm'' Studio in la belle France back in late-May. There's always a special magic on a record with Loueke. Next year I'll be interested to hear how Gilles Peterson remixes Loueke's fine HH.
There is significant rapport here given that Borey and Loueke go way back to when Loueke lived in France, the Franco and George Benson-inspired guitarist having moved to Europe from Benin and well before he attained stardom in the States. Borey makes me think timbrally a little of a player in the UK like Partikel's Duncan Eagles but he is far more introspective here. And this album is serious but not pompous. There is no intricate circuitry to the soloing more plain speaking and a strong narrative voice. I liked the intensity of 'Insomnia' and the overlapping synth and sax lines when the players thrive on out-of-sync overlapping lines is stimulating as is Loueke's lontano singing at the end. His soloing on 'Commencement' has lots of modal detail and Varaillon really responds. Certainly a must for Loueke fans and a solid piece of evidence in the case for the defence as to how fine but too underknown Borey and his trio unfathomably still are. SG