The Kora Band
“gorgeous, moving... transcends mere exoticism”
Voted 2010 'NW Recording of the Year' in Earshot Jazz Magazine!
A unique hybrid of West African styles and jazz, Cascades captures both the danceable and ethereal through a mixture of traditional songs and original compositions. Inspired by a tour of West Africa, Portland pianist Andrew Oliver formed the Kora Band as a way to integrate his passion for both styles. Featuring Kane Mathis on the kora (a 21-stringed instrument of the Mandinka people), trumpeter Chad McCullough, Brady Millard-Kish on bass, and percussionist Mark DiFlorio, the band explores traditional tunes like "Koulandjan" and "Serefu Sidi," Congolese dance tunes "Za Ayi Neyi" and "Tantine," and several originals from Oliver and Mathis. "In the tradition of [Don] Cherry, Oliver... blends the swing and intellect of American jazz with the divine poetry of West African music." - The Oregonian.
1. Sinyaro (Trad. Gambian, arranged by Andrew Oliver)
2. Ngoni System (Andrew Oliver)
3. Mamadou Bitiki (Trad. Malian)
4. Over-Caffeinated and Under-Fed (Andrew Oliver)
5. Serifu Sidi (Trad. Gambian)
6. Cascades (Andrew Oliver)
7. Koulandjan (Trad. Malian, arranged by Andrew Oliver)
8. Sori (Trad. Malian, Arranged by Kane Mathis)
9. Dakang (Kane Mathis)
10. Za Ayi Neyi (Les Têtes Brulées, Arranged by Andrew Oliver)
11. Tabara (Trad. Malian)
12. Amadou Sekou (Trad. Guinean, arranged by the Kora Band)
13. Tantine (Ntesa Dalienst, arranged by Andrew Oliver)
The Kora Band is:
- piano, wurlitzer electric piano
- kora, guitar, vocals
- trumpet, flugelhorn
- acoustic bass, electric bass
- drumset, calabash
with special guests:
- congas, cowbell
Produced by Andrew Oliver
Recorded by Don Gunn
Recorded at Two Sticks Audio, Seattle, WA
May 9-10, 2010
Mixed by Don Gunn
Mixed at The Office, Seattle, WA
Mastered by John McCaig
Mastered at panicStudios, Seattle, WA
Design and layout by John Bishop
All Music Guide
Headed up unobtrusively by pianist Andrew Oliver, the Kora Band is an experiment in compositional fusion. Incorporating the sounds of West African music into modern jazz isn't entirely unheard of, with Toumani Diabaté bridging some of the gaps over the years in his collaborations. Nonetheless, this is a different beast. The focus here is on the jazz, a relatively light and airy version of it, with the kora (provided outstandingly by Kane Mathis) taking an important part, but only a part, in the ...
Jazz Society of Oregon
Portland pianist Andrew Oliver takes on the music of west Africa with this ambitious project. The band fuses western styles and influences with the music of The Gambia, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast. The opener, "Sinyaro," features the band's kora (a 21-stringed instrument of the Mandinka people) player, Kane Mathis. While Mathis is a western musician, he learned the kora and the accompanying language he occasionally sings in The Gambia, and his mastery is what leads this group. "Sinyaro" sou...
"World jazz" is the label that often gets slapped on any project that dares mix post-bop music with grooves and instrumentation not native to North America. And those projects fequently come off as gimmicky. Not so with the Kora Band, a group of Portland and Seattle musicians - several by way of New Orleans - who successfully incorporate West African rhythms and textures into their otherwise mainstream jazz sound. The quintet, led by keyboardist Andew Oliver, has as its X factor the kora, a 21-s...