Mike Clark – Kozen Rufu (ENG review)

Wide Hive Records – Street Date: September 8th 2023
Mike Clark – Kozen Rufu (ENG review)

If you don’t appreciate albums that delve too deep into musical experimentation, then this might not be for you. For the rest of you, grab your napkin and fasten it around your neck, because with the feast that’s on offer, you’re in for a treat. Featuring legendary drummer Mike Clark accompanied by Eddie Henderson on trumpet, Henry ‘The Skipper’ Franklin on bass, Skerik on saxophone, Wayne Horvitz on piano and Rhodes, and fellow Headhunter Bill Summers on congas and percussion.
Mike Clark is an intriguing drummer for whom jazz is his first love, and on this album, he explores themes seen through his ultra-contemporary musical perspective. The choice of other artists who make up this group solidifies the musical style that Mike embarked upon with this album.
Mike has performed with jazz luminaries such as Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride, Chet Baker, John Scofield, Nicholas Payton, Tony Bennett, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Eddie Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Vince Guaraldi, Woody Shaw, Donald Harrison, Albert King, Larry Coryell, Mike Wolff, Wallace Roney, Billy Childs, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Chris Potter, Bobby McFerrin, Nat Adderley, Oscar Brown Jr., and Gil Evans and his orchestra.
Throughout this album, the entire group leans heavily on rhythm. It’s a constant balance between a form of elevated classic jazz and ultra-contemporary jazz. Skerik on saxophone shines like a shooting star on every track, Eddie Henderson on trumpet always seems poised on a tightrope, and so we listen, we admire. Mike Clark blurs the lines, playfully offering us exquisitely crafted rhythms that make the sound of the instruments bounce like balls on a ping-pong table.
As you can see, this album is set to release in early September, and believe me, the month of September will be filled with exceptional albums like this one. We are also eagerly anticipating releases from Celine Bonacina, Aaron Diehl & The Knights, the new Veronica Swift, and quite a few others. Even in October, the new Steve Cole album is on the horizon.
Clearly, “Kozen Rufu” can only be a selection for the Must-Have list at Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move editorial teams, for whom this CD is an exceptional album.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, August 16th 2023


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