CD Reviews Steve Hackett & Djabe – Summer Storms and Rocking Rivers

Published on 3rd July 2017

Steve Hackett & Djabe – Summer Storms and Rocking Rivers


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Djabe were founded in 1995, going on to become the number one jazz/world fusion band in their native Hungary. Their association and collaboration with Steve Hackett goes back to 2003 when he played on their Sheafs are Dancing album, and in 2004 Hackett joined them on stage when they played at the Spitz in London.

Recorded at a concert in Bratislava in Slovakia on the 14th July 2011, except Los Endos which comes from a show in Budapest on 30th November 2012, this set was originally released as a double vinyl and Blu-ray set, but now sees its release as a CD/DVD package.

The recording has been made with the crowd noise low, which goes to enhance the music, an interesting eclectic mix of prog, blues and folk with a healthy dose of Hungarian jazz. There is a very eastern European flavour to the music with, at times, some wonderful Miles Davis-like trumpet to grab the attention with excellent violin, all this coupled with Steve Hackett’s top quality guitar playing. The concert consists of Djabe’s own material, Steve’s solo work and a small selection of Genesis songs. An unusual mix, but it all works well, fitting together nicely with Djabe’s interpretations of Steve’s solo and Genesis songs providing for an intriguing listen, adding a new dimension to the originals. The violin intro to Firth of Fifth is captivating before Steve joins in to provide a wonderful version of this classic. Indeed, the band does similar justice to Steve’s Last Train to Istanbul, their natural eastern flavoured sound fitting the song so well.

The sound quality is very good and nicely mixed and mastered by Tamas Barabas at Gramy Recording Studio. The original Djabe compositions are of an excellent quality, mixing the eastern touches with Hungarian jazz to create some interesting sounds, often led by the violin but it is where the trumpet takes over that they are lifted again. The Miles Davis feel is evident at different moments within the track Butterfly.

The DVD has a slightly different running order to the CD, including some further Djabe compositions such as the excellent Dark Soup. Hackett’s acoustic set, comprising Classical Gas, Blood on the Rooftops and Horizons, is also in the set list. The DVD offers a choice of audio options between LPCM Stereo and DTS 5.1, of which both sound excellent on my TV soundbar, with perhaps the DTS getting the edge. The only slight issue is the picture quality which, considering is is taken from a Blu-ray release, could have been better, and I watched this on a Blu-ray player that upscale DVDs. That said it does not distract too much from the enjoyment, the filming giving an intimate small club feel with each participant getting their fair share of screen time.

The DVD extras include a video clip for Tears For Peace, two further tracks recorded in 2013 at Miskole, Hungary and a documentary, Rocking Summer Roads. The documentary lasts about 21-minutes and includes an interview with Steve where he reveals how he came to work with Djabe. It also includes some concert footage from 2007, rehearsal footage for this concert and the sound check for the gig; overall an interesting overview.

The playing throughout is of a high standard from a bunch of very talented musicians, their collaboration with Steve Hackett appearing to be a productive and creative one. An interesting re-release of a collaboration I personally knew nothing about, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to discover Djabe’s music. This is another very good release from Esoteric, presented in a triple fold out digipak, housing the CD and DVD with a 16-page booklet that includes some interesting notes and pictures.

TRACK LISTING
Disc 1 – CD

01. City of Habi (6:42)
02. The Steppes (7:21)
03. Butterfly (8:40)
04. Scenes – Above Poland (7:56)
05. Scenes – Sunset At The Seaside (1:17)
06. Horizons (1:57)
07. Ace of Wands (3:38)
08. Flowers Stillness (2:45)
09. Rush For Menes (8:12)
10. Strange Places (3:34)
11. Last Train To Istanbul (5:22)
12. Firth Of Fifth (5:04)
13. Summer Rain (1:06)
14. In That Quiet Earth (4:45)
15. Distant Dance (7:22)
16. Los Endos (3:17)

Total Time – 78:56

Disc 2 – DVD
01. City Of Habi
02. The Steppes
03. Dark Soup
04. Butterfly
05. Scenes – Above Poland
06. Scenes – Sunset At The Seaside
07. Steve’s Acoustic Set:
– Classical gas
– Blood On The Rooftops
– Horizons
08. Ace Of Wands
09. Firth Of Fifth
10. Last Train To Istanbul
11. Summer Storms
12. Rocking Rivers
13. Rush For Menes
14. Strange Places
15. Rush For Menes Reprise
16. Summer Rain
17. In That Quiet earth
18. Distant Dance
~ Bonus Features:
01. Jacuzzi/Overnight Sleeper (recorded on 10th November 2013 in Miskolc, Hungary)(3:52)
02. Tears For Peace (promo video, filmed in 2012 in Budapest, Hungary)(7:00)
03. Rocking Summer Roads – documentary, including:
– The Steppes (live in Debrecen, 16th July 2011)
– Scenes (live in Debrecen, 16th July 2011)
– Los Endos (live in Budapest, 18th July 2014)
– Los Endos, closing section (live in Budapest, 30th November 2012)(21:24)

Total Time – 129:52

MUSICIANS
Steve Hackett – Vocal, Guitar
Ferenc Kovacs – Vocal, Trumpet, Violin
Zoltan Kovacs – Keyboards
Attila Egerhazi – Guitar, Percussion
Tamas Barabas – Bass Guitar
Szilard Banai – Drums

ADDITIONAL INFO
Record Label: Esoteric Antenna
Catalogue#: EANTCD 21065
Year of Release: 2017

LINKS
Djabe – Website | Facebook
Steve Hackett – Website | Facebook

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