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Djabe

& Steve Hackett - The Journey Continues

Review by Gary Hill

This new live album continues the trend of quality stuff from Djabe. Their music generally tends to land in the fusion zone, sometimes with healthy helpings of world music. This largely steers more toward the pure fusion end. Of course, with the edition of guitar maestro Steve Hackett, you know you are in for something special. However, you can pretty much count on that with Djabe either way. Most of this is instrumental, but there are few tunes with vocals. In addition to original Djabe music, we get some Genesis renditions. This comes as a two CD set, with two songs from a different show, but it includes a bonus DVD. In addition to video of the main show, there are some bonus videos on the DVD that you won't find on the CDs. All in all, this is an exceptional collection and a great addition to the Djabe catalog.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
CD 1 - Part 1
          
New Words
A dramatic and cinematic vibe with a lot of symphonic elements brings this into being. The cut gradually builds from there as this show gets underway. Eventually this shifts more toward a sedate fusion that is informed by world music elements. The cut works through a number of changes. There are some great acoustic guitar soloing moments. Then when the piece gets electrified later it takes on a driving, symphonic prog approach that is so classy.
Reflection of Thierache
A mellow fusion arrangement starts this with piano at the forefront. A horn joins to share command duties as it works forward. This gets into some powerhouse electrified fusion further down the road as they continue to explore the sonic possibilities of the piece.
Life Is A Journey
I love this song. The cool jazz meets world grooves on the number work so well. I loved the studio version of this song, and I love this, too. There is a bit of a Spyro Gyra feeling to the cut in a lot of ways. This is a strong live performance of the song. The guitar soloing on this is pure sonic wizardry, but everything here is special.
Castelsardo at Night
Some killer bass work dominates the early parts of this piece. It works out to more rocking fusion zones later and the guitar really manages to paint some seriously strong patterns of sound. There is some pretty inspiring synthesizer soloing on this thing, too.
Buzzy Island
Drums lead out here. Some killer funk bass joins before other instruments come in. This becomes a smoking hot classic fusion styled number with a lot energy and style. There is some incendiary guitar soloing as it continues. There is more powerhouse jamming further down the road, and then it drops to a keyboard led movement.
Tears for Peace
Like "Life is a Journey," this is one of the few songs here to feature vocals. I can make out a bit of Toto with some Spyro Gyra in the mix. The cut has a classy fusion styled groove and some killer instrumental work along with vocal hooks.
CD 2 - Part 2
         
Last Train to Istanbul

I love the world music textures of this cut. The track is another that features vocals. This gets into some powerful instrumental zones as it winds through a sans voice movement later.

Golden Sand
A mellower motif brings this cut into being. There are some intriguing space elements over the top early, but it moves toward more melodic fusion as it continues to evolve. The keyboard and bass exploration later is so classy. After that movement it comes out into a bombastic kind of jam that makes me think of Pink Floyd just a little.
Hairless Heart
I love the dramatic waves of sound at the heart of this cut. There is more of a keyboard based element at play, but horns are definitely used well to augment that. This is a comparitively short piece.
Firth of Fifth
I love this adaptation of Genesis music. Of course, Hackett's guitar really manages to shine here, as it did on the original. This has so much of the magic you expect from this classic, but also some different edges and flavorings.
Gallop
Drums that really do seem to be galloping bring this into being. The cut builds on that maintaining that same kind of energy and motion. This gets into some almost surf music territory for a time, and then explodes out into powerhouse fusion jamming from there.
Lava Lamp
A tuned percussion sort of vibe brings this into being. Some smoking hot bass emerges over the top of that as it continues. This drives out with so much style and charm as it continues. This is fusion of the highest order. It drops later to a piano showcase. When it powers back up we are treated to some killer guitar work. It turns so dramatic and powerful as it drives forward. A weird kind of electronic sounding jam emerges later. As it continues we get a powerhouse bass and drum workout. A smoking hot guitar solo ensues from there. There is also a full drum solo on the piece beyond that. This number is nearly 18-minuttes long, and they put all that space to good use. After the drum solo we get a piano showcase for a time.
Los Endos
This classic Genesis number gets fusion-styled treatment. There is some fierce guitar work on the number. It also turns into more recognizable stuff at times. The bass is positively on fire at a lot of spots along this road. We get some really crazed jazz jamming later on in the piece.
Bonus Tracks:
                
In That Quiet Earth

Here we get another Genesis song. Hackett's guitar brings this in with a lot of style and charm. The cut grows out into recognizable territory with a bit more of a fusion flair. This is just so hot.

After Limoncello
Melodic and rather gentle fusion is on the menu here. This has some incendiary guitar work and a lot of great musical textures in addition to it. It is a rather smooth jazz piece, but in the best sense of that term.
 
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