When I type the name of this album on Google, I get four results (4), and this despite the quality of the music. The world clearly isn't fair, but we kind of knew this already.
Omawi is a trio with Marta Warelis on piano, Wilbert de Joode on bass, and Onno Govaert on drums, for the occasion extended with Alistair Payne on trumpet and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on bass. The trio released one other album before, "Inscape" from 2018, and their moniker is an acronym of their first names.
This album is a true winner. The core trio is by itself already strong: Warelis piano sound is something unique and beautiful, Govaert's drumming is a real treat: crisp, fast, unexpected and accentuating at the right moments, De Joode - the senior in this quintet - needs of course no introduction and to have Håker Flaten as a deeptoned partner offers him more freedom than expected. The true discovery on this album is trumpeter Alistair Payne, born in Scotland but studying and residing in Amsterdam like most of the band. (There is a fun video on Youtube on which Payne performs with Sun-Mi Hong on drums).
On this live album they bring us two lengthy improvisations, the first one clocking almost 32 minutes, the second 21 minutes. The music has a very natural and organic flow to it, with the improvisation following its own logic and path, often focused and coherent, at times a little meandering, but the overall sound and interaction is highly enjoyable and strong.
The music is a true collective effort, and musicians step back to leave space for the others, resulting in many moments of duets or trio playing. This gives the music a suite-like natural structure. Nothing is forced, nothing is hurried, or too exuberant or violent or voluminous. The band's gentle narrative develops, grows, expands, slows down, contracts, turning left or right and moving back to the center, with moments of intensity flowing spontaneously into moments of near silence and back, while remaining fascinating in all its warm authenticity and intimacy.
I truly hope this review will increase their Google result. They deserve it.
Listen and download from Bandcamp.
Thanks Stef! Nice review as usual and your blog - what would my life be without it?
Omawi : really a revelation and definitely a very worthwhile listen. The world is indeed utterly unfair.
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