Intensified commitment to the French-African drummer’s programme of “beautifully mutated grooves and jazzy themes” (to quote The Guardian) distinguishes Manu Katché’s third ECM album. Inside an all-new line-up, bassist Pino Palladino nonchalantly reinforces the groove element – he and Katché have much shared history as sessioneers – and helps the pulses of Manu’s tunes to dance.
Pianist Rebello has both delicacy of touch and energy to burn, and saxophonist Brunborg, currently playing at a peak, solos passionately on Katché’s melodies. Guest guitarist Jacob Young shades and colours a handful of pieces, while Kami Lyle adds innocent vocals to “Stay With You”. Recorded in the South of France in December 2009 and issued on the eve of a major European tour, “Third Round” is poised to be one of the season’s jazz hits.