Kahil El' Zabar's Ritual Trio Ooh Live

Kahil El’Zabar is one of the most skilled artists when it comes to the transmutation of Africa into the American diaspora. His work with the Ritual Trio is an example of what the Art Ensemble of Chicago called "Great Black Music: Ancient To the Future.” In this particular release, featuring two of the masters (Malachi Favors Maghostut on bass and Pharoah Sanders on tenor), the focus narrows effectively into the path trod by John Coltrane. The set starts with a relaxed reading of "Autumn Leaves” in the format of a piano trio, with Ari Brown’s piano skirting the edges of fracture but still maintaining the form, and El’Zabar’s drums swinging right behind. From there, the band sails into a full blown ’Trane trance on "The Land of Ooh,” which testifies to the ability of tradition to still be able to tear the roof off without the notion of nostalgia coming up. The following track calms things down a bit but is in the same sort of vein (without Pharoah), followed by the raucous party of "Ka’s Blues.” While a more varied and funky vibe can be found on other recordings, the Ritual Trio’s direction on this release is one of integrity and strength. (Katalyst)