(All Album Reviews by maribor)
You don't hear the name of Djabe exactly mentioned on every street corner, or even at jazz or progressive rock gatherings. Djabe have sort of become lost within the boundaries of progressive rock, jazz and world music. They belong to each of these genres and to none of them. Their music surpasses simple genre definitions, which is a great credit to their music, but it also means that it hasn’t really found a niche.
Recently, Djabe have been hit with a great tragedy with the loss of their singer and percussionist Sipos András, also known as Sipi. Take On features the last recordings Sipi ever made with the band. The album also includes a composition dedicated to Sipi, with the Genesis-influenced title of “Los Sipos”. This album has everyone that is great about Djabe, including an excellent live performance at the Debrecen Jazz Days.
Djabe have a recognizable sound and it’s hard to mistake them for anyone else, but still every album is nothing like the rest. Because Djabe are not restricted by genre definitions and any other restrictions, they can just about use any combination of influences at any given moment. This gives them plenty of room to build and they make good use of it. While their main idiom of expression is almost always jazz (on this record as well), they always find ingenious ways to incorporate other musical elements, even when you would least expect them. Thus we hear plenty of world music influences, Latin music (Los Sipos), Romani (gypsy) music, folk, rock and occasionally even classical. It may sound chaotic, but actually Djabe make the music flow like a river and with a resounding musical quality to touch the deepest recesses of your heart. Their music is not only full of intelligent twists and turns, but also so full of feeling. You can truly feel their love for their music and it is reflected in the composition.
The CD is two-sided, which means that the second side features a DVD of their performance at the Debrecen Jazz Days, a performance never meant to be released. However, this was the last live performance of Sipi with the band, a week before his death and the band felt that under the circumstances it had to be released. It is a good choice because on one album you get the last Djabe studio album as well as a live performance, where Djabe are arguably at their best. Their free compositions are given even more freedom and room to manoeuver. Djabe are a very relaxed band with a fondness for performing and this can definitely be seen in this show as well.
Even though Take On is occasionally melancholic, which is understandable under the circumstances, it still retains plenty of the traditional joy that is often associated with Djabe releases. Sipi may be gone, but he lives on through the music. Take On is a great chance to get to know two sides of Djabe – their compositional studio side and their concert side, where there’s plenty room for improvisation, an area where Djabe truly excel, especially because of their variety of influences. Take On is certainly amongst their best musical efforts. If you want to hear a truly progressive band at work, let Djabe into your life.
Originally published by http://www.therocktologist.com
8 out of 10.