Lukas Ligeti: Pattern Time

Lukas Ligeti
Pattern Time
(Innova Records)

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Mixing African-influenced polyrhythmic jazz drumming with a rather oddly improvised composing style, Lukas Ligeti presents another unique listen with his latest album, Pattern Time. Backed by some rather spectacular players, this seven-song CD is wildly percussive in the best sense of the term, as you will hear a master player/composer reveal some truly intricate, and at times, breathtaking ideas.

The  toy balafon (a resonated frame, wooden-keyed percussion instrument akin to a xylophone/marimba/glockenspiel/vibraphone) sounds very much like muted glass bottles being plucked on “Without Prior Warning”;  Gianni Gebbia’s meandering alto horn rides waves on this opening tune’s unusual backing. The longest song, “On Patterned Time,” is up next, a clinking, clucking wild flight.

The next pair of tunes, “Timelessness” and “From the Ground Up,” worked best for me though; the former features some beautiful light touches from pianist Benoît Delbecq and the latter, a great, accessible rhythm from both the drumming of Ligeti and the fine bass playing of Michael Manring.

There are some fits and starts that don’t really do it for me, including “A Hook In the Sky” as well as the scary, low moments of the ender, “Tunnels Alight.” Add to the ensemble here Aly Keïta on grown-up balafon and you get the full complement of accomplished players on what proves to be a very interesting mix indeed. Pattern Time is not for everyone’s tastes I assure you, but it is damn well-played interesting music with more than a hint of originality.

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