Byzantine Monkey, bassist/composer John Hébert's long-awaited debut recording as a bandleader, documents his New York-based sextet of the same name featuring frequent collaborators Michaël Attias, Tony Malaby, Adam Kolker, Nasheet Waits and Satoshi Takeishi. Hébert’s original compositions for the group take their inspiration from a variety of sources, including his interest in Cajun music, his travels to different parts of the world and his gratitude and respect for his mentor, legendary pianist/composer Andrew Hill, with whom Hébert worked from 2001 until his death in 2007.
The musicians bringing that music to life in Byzantine Monkey have all worked extensively with Hébert in other ensembles, including Attias, Kolker and Malaby’s own groups and Hill’s trio and quintet. "Byzantine Monkey is me, and Byzantine Monkey is the band," writes Hébert in the liner notes. "All of our voices together, telling one story."
released July 16, 2009
John Hebert :: bass
Tony Malaby :: tenor & soprano saxophones
Michael Attias :: alto & baritone saxophones
Nasheet Waits :: drums
Satoshi Takeishi :: percussion
Adam Kolker :: flute, alto flute, bass clarinet
supported by 13 fans who also own “Byzantine Monkey”
This album demonstrates the creative viability of a trio closely attuned to each other's strengths and talents. The compositions are varied and the improvisations are strong and inventive. The music sounds grounded yet fresh and surprising. Excellent. Carl Baugher