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Luboš Soukup Quartet is releasing a new album featuring the African guitarist Lionel Loueke

10 / 12 / 2017

Luboš Soukup Quartet is releasing their third — Země (The Earth). The jazz album features guest appearances from the guitarist Lionel Loueke, thanks to whom the CD gets a slightly African touch. Similarly to the band’s earlier releases, all music and arrangements have been written exclusively by the Czech saxophonist Luboš Soukup.

Compared to their previous release called Through the Mirror, which has been recorded with an ensemble of 14 musicians, the new album is more intimate and personal. The quartet’s essence stays the same, and it offers new musical interactions. The instruments playing on the recording (saxophone, guitar, piano, double bass, and drums) are brought from the quartet’s debut album Beyond the Borders, where the guitarist David Dorůžka made a guest appearance. However, Soukup introduces a new element in this project, which is not entirely typical of his music — the voice.

 
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Again, the saxophonist joins forces with the Danish drummer Morten Hæsum, who has been a part of the band from its very beginning, and with the German piano player Christian Pabst, who played at quartet’s previous album. Two other musicians that are taking part in the project are the Danish bass player Morten Haxholm, who joined the band in 2016, and the New-York based guitarist of the African origin Lionel Loueke, who accompanies the band in six tunes, and who is also singing in some of them.

Lubos soukup Quartet in a recording studio with Lionel Loueke

Luboš Soukup, who is the recipient of the Danish Music Talent Award 2017, met Lionel Loueke at the Summer jazz workshop for professional musicians in Vallekilde, Denmark, two years ago. At the beginning of this year, he invited the guitarist to join his quartet for a European tour during which the five musicians performed at the Jazz Festival Brno, the Czech Republic, and in Copenhagen, Denmark, amongst others. They finished the tour in the Danish studio called The Village Recordings, where they recorded the music for their new album.

Lubos Soukup Quartet feat. guitartist Lionel Loueke playing at Jazz Fest Brno 2017 | photo by Martin Zeman

Jazz music that celebrates the Earth

The CD begins with the track called Země (The Earth) which is inspired by Lionel’s music. “I wrote this composition having Lionel on my mind,” says Luboš Soukup and continues: “We live in interesting times and our planet faces many issues. My wish is that we people live more environmentally-friendly and sustainable and that we are in closer contact with nature. I think the future lifestyle will have to be simpler, which is a rather difficult task in today’s world with all the incredible possibilities we have.” He adds: “Only later in the process of working on this album, I realized the connection with Lionel’s CD ‘Gaïa’. The word comes from Ancient Greek and means the ‘earth’. In Greek mythology, Gaia was the mother goddess who presided over the earth. And the message of his album is also similar to mine. In short, the Earth is our home, so let’s take care of it.”

Lubos Soukup & Lionel Loueke

The first optimistic song is followed by rather darker ballad called Dark Shark which is described in the booklet as: “A dark shark is floating around your head, waiting for your good thoughts to eat.” The tune The Red Sea is one of the most complex rhythmical pieces on the album. It is inspired by the picture of Moses stretching out his hand over the sea and God parting the waters.

The composer borrows the word Shikara from Salman Rushdie’s book Midnight’s children. The tune is a short poem about small colorful boats on Indian lakes. The music dialog between the piano and the clarinet is the leitmotiv of the calm and dreamlike composition called White Horse. A dreamy mood appears also in the second part of the piece Smoke, which is one of the most sophisticated compositions. The author found inspiration for this tune in the eponymous movie directed by Paul Auster and Wayne Wang.

An interesting music development can be also heard in the composition called C. The piece is opened by the collective improvisation of the piano, the guitar, and the soprano saxophone. Its main theme has a Latin-American vibe and slowly graduates in an exposed guitar solo. The only tune that refers to classical jazz of the1960s is the piece Falling star in which the Czech saxophonist captures the impression of a falling star freezing on the horizon. And finally, the last track on the album is a positive arrangement of the Czech folk songs Na Bílé Hoře (On the White Mountain) which, with the contribution of the guitarist Lionel Loueke, gets an African touch.

Lubos Soukup Quartet featuring Lionel Loueke

 
 

Album info

Luboš Soukup Quartet featuring Lionel Loueke - Země (The Earth), Animal music, 2017

Artist Luboš Soukup Quartet feat. Lionel Loueke
Title Země
Catalogue Number ANI 064-2
Label Animal Music

Tracks

  1. Země (The Earth) 6:12
  2. Dark Shark 6:05
  3. The Red Sea 4:12
  4. Shikara 6:51
  5. White Horse 4:01
  6. C 7:03
  7. Falling Star 6:05
  8. Smoke 7:06
  9. Na Bílé hoře (On the White Mountain) 4:53

Total time: 53:05

All compositions by Luboš Soukup, except track 9 (Czech folk song arranged by Luboš Soukup).

Musicians/Personnel

Luboš Soukup – tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet
Christian Pabst – piano
Morten Haxholm – acoustic bass
Morten Hæsum – drums
& Lionel Loueke – guitar and vocal

Sound

Recorded by Bjørn Gjessing (The Village Recordings, Vanløse, Denmark)
Mixed by August Wanngren (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Mastered by Thomas Eberger (Stockholm Mastering, Sweden)

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