Briefly on the now very much depleted artist roster at ACT in terms of sheer star power since Vijay Iyer’s departure and before that a fixture for a longer spell at ECM, drummer Manu Katché has a brand new album out on the Anteprima Productions label next month.

It’s called Unstatic, the latest from the 57-year-old French drummer who also sings a little on the album and who is well known for his work with rock stars particularly Sting (a big gig with Sting featuring as his guest is coming up in Paris on 7 April). Katché really made his considerable jazz reputation with Neighbourhood frankly which he has not quite matched since although few have either in terms of progressive scintillating complex post-bop groove as that album happens to be up there with some of ECM’s best output since the dawn of the new millennium. 

A TV host in France his celebrity extends far beyond his work as a busy gigging musician there and on the wider international festival circuit. Katche also appears sometimes at London’s Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. The new record retains his British pianist Jim Watson and in a far sighted move he has recruited Pixel bassist/vocalist Ellen Andrea Wang (the Norwegian Esperanza Spalding, surely) alongside the Jan Garbarek-esque sound of Tore Brunborg, the small horn section element of his band completed by trumpeter Luca Aquino.

Stephen Graham

More on the project in the video, above