Best of 2017 #16: Jeremy Danneman and Sophie Nzayisenga – “Honey Wine” (Ropeadope)


There is a supreme joyfulness to this collaboration between Jeremy Danneman and Sophie Nzayisenga.  Danneman’s saxophone and Nzayisenga’s inanga (a ten-stringed instrument similar to a zither or kora) dance around in circles, their delightful motions as enchanting rhythmically as they are melodically.  Honey Wine is upbeat and conversational, and all the same, this blend of jazz and folk has a calm demeanor that borders on soothing at times.  And, thankfully, it shows a willingness to rear back and roar up to the skies when the moment calls for it.  The bass and drums of William Parker and Tim Keiper snap right into place with this dynamic, and the result is a rich personality that crackles with life.  This is an instance where doing something very different sounds as normal as a beating heart.

Music from NYC and Kigali, Rwanda.

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