Hadouk Trio: Baldamore (Naive)

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Hadouk Trio: Baldamore
Hadouk Trio: Baldamore (Naive)

For an issue of Real Groove magazine I wrote about how boring many New Zealand jazz albums are -- they simply don't surprise and are often retreads of standards which have been done better elsewhere.

I like my jazz to have an element which makes me sit up and listen -- and this French/North African trio managed to do that, and more.

I haven't air-punched to a jazz album in many years.

Voted the best jazz group of last year in France (by some organisation), this sometimes muscular outfit -- here recorded in concert -- is driven from the bottom by cannoning drums, vigorous shakers and cymbals, and the melodic colour comes from various North African flutes, the kora, and so forth.

It is occasionally given cinematic breath by swathes of swirling synths. It isn't all upbeat however and in a couple of places they take you off to the desert for a quiet night in the sands.

It is also elevated by the presence of the great singer Malouma on three tracks, which I will concede immediately some might find demanding.

Me, I love the mix-up of improvisation and North African melodies.

Multi-instrumentalist Didier Malherbe was a founder member of 70s prog-rockers Gong but also has behind him a series of albums under his own name, work with free jazz and soundtrack ensembles.

The Hadouk Trio have released about five albums as far as I can tell. This makes me want to hear the others. Some say that the most innovative music comes when cultures collide or collude.

Here's further supporting evidence.

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