Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio

With Special Guest Billy Bang 

Live at the River East Art Center

Wednesday, Jan 25 2006
About three-quarters of the way into this spirited CD/DVD set by Chicago's premier deep-soul/jazz combo, band leader Kahil El'Zabar launches into a preacher's monologue: "Life is really really really worth living. Why be here and not really live?" Despite the percussionist's well-intentioned reminder to concertgoers that personal power trumps war-obsessed politics in the long run, his sermon is unnecessary; the music speaks for itself. Along with veteran Coltrane-inspired saxophonist Ari Brown, affably bent violinist Billy Bang (a frequent guest collaborator), and bassist Yosef Ben Israel, El'Zabar delivers on the group's promise introduced two decades back on the albums Another Kind of Groove and Sacred Love: Peace, love, and solidarity are far from passé concepts. While this Arts Center gig fairly revels in a '60s vibe -- with its ties to trippy visuals (seen clearly in the psychedelic stage backdrop on the DVD) and Mother Africa (El'Zabar's kalimba-led modal jams are in top lyrical-rhythmic form) -- there's nothing obsolete about the uplift Ritual Trio brings. In fact, it's essential.

About The Author

Sam Prestianni


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"