Katché became known as the drummer on Peter Gabriel’s 1986 album So, and went on to work with the likes of Sting, Eurythmics, Dire Straits, Manu Chao, Youssou N’Dour and Joan Armatrading, as well as Joe Satriani. A top player, in other words.
But he’s equally (probably more, on the evidence of this album) at home playing jazz. Katché and his quartet played 130 concerts last year.
This new album sees the French/Ivorian percussionist out on the ACT label, itself a guarantee of quality. It’s the record of an evening (in June 2014) in a Parisian club, New Morning. In a word: superb, and there’s no two ways about it. The music is loose and subtle and, with the exception of one drum solo, there’s little in the way of self-promoting solos, just cool modern jazz. Katché’s band are all good: Jim Watson on organ, trumpeter Luca Aquino and Tore Brunborg, saxophone and bass, though Watson seems to supply a lot of the bass with his Hammond B3.
The music is a mix of jazz funk and bebop, though Katché’s rock leanings give it a four-four feel, which, together with the sparse arrangements, belie the high standard of playing. The band is discreet and subtle as its members display their prestigious talent.
At the end of the day, this is just a very enjoyable CD, and waffling on about it is just trying to lengthen that basic point. The live crowd really enjoyed it — a June evening in Paris, listening to some of the world’s best musicians playing cool jazz well: more than one member of that crowd must have thought “It doesn’t get any better…”