Djabe and Steve Hackett have worked together quite a bit over the years. The world jazz act and former Genesis guitarist who has pursued a brilliant solo career for a long time work really well together. Their collaborations are always high quality. This live set is no exception. There is a full concert on two CDs with some bonus tracks from other shows. It also includes a Blu-Ray of the main concert. The Blu-Ray also has a documentary and several film and video clips. The video is great, but it’s just the icing on the cake for me. You just can’t go wrong with these two acts, and this is another classy release from them.
This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2023 Volume 4 More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2023.
Searching for the Stag
This short introduction is made up of steadily growing atmospherics with some vocalization over the top. It segues straight into the next piece.
Power of Wings
A smoking hot number, this blends world music, melodic prog, psychedelia and even some jazz into an intriguing and effective instrumental track. This has some cool percussion work, too. It’s quite the ride.
Coming in even jazzier than the previous piece, this has a spacey, trippy element at play in the early portions. It shifts to harder rocking, slow moving stuff after that extended introduction. Jazz and world music both make their presence known in the arrangement that evolves. Still, they are tempered with a definite prog/fusion sort of angle.
There is some smoking hot funky bass work at the heart of this beast. The track is fast-paced and decidedly fusion-based. It’s also on fire. The jam later in the piece that has a focus on that funky bass is incredible.
Lake by the Sea
Mellower and a little trippy, I dig the combination of world music and fusion that’s in the mix here. It grows out toward more rock based stuff as it continues. It features some particularly expressive guitar work.
Ace of Wands
Prog and jazz merge seamlessly on this number. It has some killer shifts and changes. It also features some amazing guitar work. A section after the halfway mark explodes into some scorching jazz that features great instrumental interplay. Everyone gets a chance to shine on that section.
Castelsardo at Night
A mellower jam, this has some trippy fusion vibes at play. It’s a classy song, but not really a standout. It goes stand taller when it intensifies later.
In That Quiet Earth
This Genesis track gets a cool reworking here. It features killer guitar and bass work. At times it is closer to the original, but there are also some jazzy vibes at points.
Witchi Tai To
Mellow atmospherics create the opening portions of this. Acoustic guitar rises up in picked lines after a time. At about three-minutes this drives out into some killer melodic fusion type sound. This track gets something nothing to this point has had, vocals. Part of them sound in a language other than English, while others are English. For some reason, this makes me think of a jazzy take on an almost Beatles-like thing at times.
Last Train to Istanbul
Dramatic world music merged with prog and fusion swirls around as this gets underway. This is another with vocals. This has a lot more of a progressive rock angle to it. This thing gets pretty intense in melodic ways before it’s done.
This is a percussive workout with a tribal angle to it. It’s intriguing, but percussion pieces aren’t really my thing.
Here get more of the fusion meets prog and world music type instrumental music I expect by this point. It’s another melodic and powerful piece that has an evolving nature that makes it a great journey. I love the piano showcase section on this, but I am actually enamored with the rest of the track. The hard-edged proggy music with horn powering over it that we hear late in the track makes me think of Red-era King Crimson. It drops back to mellower stuff from there to continue. A more powered up jam takes it later to end things in style.
Coming in largely textural, this works out nicely from there.
Firth of Fifth
We’re back into Genesis territory with this piece of music. It has some powerful melodic elements and really captures the magic of the piece while also updating it. Hackett’s guitar work is stellar here.
Around the Circle
This is a killer bass solo. It has a lot of funk built into it.
This powerhouse number has plenty of fusion at its heart. It features smoking hot guitar and bass work, but everyone here really shines. Mid-track they take this into a full blues jam, complete with harmonica. They make their way back out into the killer jazz styled stuff further down the road. It gets into some really potent territory along the rest of the road.
Back into the land of Genesis, they add a lot of jazz to the beginning, but it remains in the mix later, too. While it’s a bit of a change, it’s also instantly recognizable. They deliver a really powerful variant and even take it toward metal at times. More of a full jazz approach is heard further down the road. Yet, it’s still definitely the Genesis track. Hackett’s guitar gets really driving at points.
A full-fledged blues jam gets this thing going. The number turns out later to a horn solo section that’s on fire with both jazz and blues in the mix. This has some classic blues guitar sounds built into it. It’s another winner on an album full of great music.
Clouds Dance (live in Vienna, 17 August)
Melodic and moving jazz jamming is on the menu for this performance. It’s not a big change, but it is a very effective piece of music. It includes a bass workout later, too. Some intensely fierce, yet melodic, guitar soloing emerges later. Keyboards take command after that, bringing more fusion to the table. They number continues to grow and evolve from there with some healthy helpings of prog making their way into it.
Castelsardo at Night (live in Debrecen, 19, August)
Somehow I think the bass stands out a little more on this rendition of the track, particularly early. I think this might be a better version than the one we heard earlier.
Olomouc Blues (live in Olomouc, 20, August)
This jam has a real “Sweet Home Chicago” vibe with that same kind of guitar blues vibe to it. There is a cool call and response section between a horn and the audience later as this drifts more toward the jazz end of the spectrum.