- Released: October 10, 2006
- Label: Delmark
The Wire - p.74
"Bang matches the mood admirably with his tart pitch-blending, while Yosef Ben Israel's strong, clear lines show him a worthy heir to Favors."
Down Beat - p.604 stars out of 5
-- "Hypnotic ostinato grooves are El'Zabar's bag, as they were Favors', and this disc has plenty of them."
JazzTimes - p.103
"El'Zabar uses the kalimba to create a hypnotic drone that inspires tenor saxophonist Ari Brown and violinist Billy Bang."
- 3.Freedom Flexibility
- 4.Big M
Kahil El'Zabar: Kahil El'Zabar; Yosef Ben Israel (double bass); Ari Brown, Billy Bang.
Personnel: Kahil El'Zabar (vocals, flute, drums, kalimba, percussion); Billy Bang (violin); Ari Brown (tenor saxophone, piano).
Liner Note Author: Tom Terrell.
Recording information: Riverside Studio, Chicago, IL (12/20/2004-12/21/2004).
Photographer: Steve Wagner .
Kahil El'Zabar's quartet is an all-star group with enormous potential. The material that they interpret on Big M (a tribute to the late Art Ensemble of Chicago bassist Malachi Favors), unfortunately, is not up to the level of the musicians. Much of the time the players are heard here merely jamming on simple vamps that overstay their welcome. There are some fiery moments from the invididual musicians, particularly tenor-saxophonist Ari Brown and violinist Billy Bang (who sounds a bit more conservative than usual) but the weak originals make this a less memorable set than it should have been considering the artists involved. ~ Scott Yanow