Shake Stew | (A)live! Review
By Griff Stevens
Shake Stew is an Austrian jazz septet with a unique, compelling hypnotic mixture of afrobeat and jazz grooves created with a combination of three horns, two drummers, and two bass players! Shake Stew’s album Rise And Rise Again, released in 2018, features Shabaka Hutchings as a guest on two tracks. Their highly acclaimed double album, Gris Gris, was released last year and now Shake Stew is releasing their first-ever live-album (A)live! on September 18, 2020. Shake Stews has this to say about the album, “The spirit behind this album is to emphasize the existential need for our music to be performed live, and the fact that it can only live and thrive as a collective phenomenon in an organic exchange with the audience. The emotions and sounds created in these moments are never private. Each and every person in the audience contributes to the process, in a constant interaction with the musicians. Therefore, we cannot simply execute our music on stage; we strive, with the help of everyone present, to bring it to life. Time and time again. This is why we play.”
“Dancing in the Cage of a Soul” is a powerful use of multi-layering and the two drummers’ and bassists’ energy. Martin Eberle joins the band for this track. After the melody, the band builds the energy to a group improvisation led by the saxophones. The drums solo is a flurry of sticks, but the groove is maintained. The counterpoint between the various instruments is the central focus.
“How We See Things” has an African influence and sound in the melody. The counterpoint is again the central focus. The horns perform an elongated melody over the rhythm sections theme. Guitarist Tobias Hoffmann joins the band for this track. Mario Rom’s trumpet solo is haunting as he tells his musical story. The song has multiple styles, and each has its charm, rhythmic playfulness, and that particular Shake Stew language.
(A)live! captures this international touring hard-working groove-machine in their prime element, a live show. Their enthusiastic, genre-bending sound is beyond labels, and their live performances have energy and concentrated listening. The five tracks capture SHAKE STEW letting loose, and you will want a good helping of that.
Date First Available : September 10, 2020
Label : Traumton