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Hackett, Steve & Djabe: Summer Storms And Rocking Rivers
With sold out shows across the world featuring his solo work and Genesis material, and his recent studio albums being much lauded, you could argue that Steve Hackett's star has never been quite so high in the sky. Hence now is as good a time as any to once again shine a light on the work he's enjoyed with Hungarian jazz-folk-prog collective Djabe. Initially released in 2013 on double vinyl and bluray, Esoteric Antenna have put these (mainly) 2011 recordings together as a lovely three panel digi-CD/DVD pack. With interesting if short liner notes from Hackett himself (which explain the album title nicely) and some cool photos and info on how he came to work with Djabe, the only thing left is for the music to live up to the packaging. Something it more than ably does.
If you were being super picky, it's worth pointing out that even though the CD and DVD feature Hackett solo work such as "The Steppes", or "Ace Of Wands", alongside Genesis material like "Firth Of Fifth", "Blood On The Rooftops", "In That Quiet Earth" and "Los Endos", the shows themselves certainly feel like Djabe with Hackett and not the other way round. However, if anything, that's a strength, interesting arrangements of songs you know and love offering new insight into their being, while the Djabe pieces "Strange Places", "Scenes – Above Poland" and "Scenes – Sunset At Seaside", are among the best on show.
Hackett blends with the band superbly, his contributions feeling fully integrated and vice-versa, the three part acoustic set on the DVD of "Classical Gas", "Blood On The Rooftops" and "Horizons" a real joy. While his contributions to the Djabe cuts proves just as vital, whether he's playing against Zoltán Kovács' keyboards, or Ferenc Kovács' trumpet or violin. However with Atllia Egerházi a hugely skilled guitarist and Tamás Barabis and Szilárd Banai, on bass and drums respectively, a mighty, yet considered rhythm section, the skill on show is impressive indeed.
The DVD carries, mainly through virtue of the acoustic section, four tracks more than the CD, but over and above that the songs don't all run in the same order even though most were taken from the same show in Bratislava on 14th July 2011. Leaving the audio CD ever so slightly disjointed in places as the edits aren't always quite as smooth as you'd like, while it also closes out with an excellent rendition of "Los Endos" from a show in Budapest 16 months later. The DVD on the other hand adds a wonderful orchestral piece "Jacuzzi/Overnight Sleeper" from 2013 with Hackett playing alongside the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra Miskolc, conducted by Djabe's Zoltan Kovács, in the extras, alongside the song "Tears For Peace", some promo videos and a short documentary. In all it makes for a wonderful release of familiar but still hugely different material that finds Hackett at his best and Djabe's music vibrant and varied.
Summer Storms & Rocking Rivers is just as enigmatic as its name suggests and worthy of many repeat visits because of it.
1. CITY OF HABI
2. THE STEPPES
4. SCENES – ABOVE POLAND
5. SCENES – SUNSET AT THE SEASIDE
7. ACE OF WANDS
8. FLOWERS STILLNESS
9. RUSH FOR MÉNES
10. STRANGE PLACES
11. LAST TRAIN TO ISTANBUL
12. FIRTH OF FIFTH
13. SUMMER RAIN
14. IN THAT QUIET EARTH
15. DISTANT DANCE
16. LOS ENDOS
DISC TWO: DVD
1. CITY OF HABI
2. THE STEPPES
3. DARK SOUP
5. SCENES – ABOVE POLAND
6. SCENES – SUNSET AT THE SEASIDE
7. STEVE'S ACOUSTIC SET:
BLOOD ON THE ROOFTOPS
8. ACE OF WANDS
9. FIRTH OF FIFTH
10. LAST TRAIN TO ISTANBUL
11. SUMMER STORMS
12. ROCKING RIVERS
13. RUSH FOR MÉNES
14. STRANGE PLACES
15. RUSH FOR MÉNES REPRISE
16. SUMMER RAIN
17. IN THAT QUIET EARTH
18. DISTANT DANCE
1. JACUZZI/OVERNIGHT SLEEPER Recorded on 10th November, 2013 in Miskolc, Hungary
2. TEARS For Peace (promotional video) Recorded and filmed 2012 in Budapest, Hungary
3. 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
Added: March 10th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Summer Storms & Rocking Rivers at Cherry Red
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