Alan Skidmore’s Ubizo, Ubizo

Alyn Shipton

By Alyn Shipton

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A delightful way to hit the skids.

When British saxophonist Alan Skidmore (Skid, to his friends and admirers) first collaborated with South African percussion and vocal ensemble Amampondo in 1999 on the album The Call, the results were a sensationally successful fusion of Skid's Coltrane-inspired tenor sax and the joyous, infectious rhythmic drive of his new colleagues. Ubizo was both the name of the follow-up and of the resulting collaborative group, more wide-ranging then before in that it now included Skid's regular UK quartet (plus German trumpeter Ingolf Burkhardt and producer Colin Towns, guesting on keyboards) as well as the South African ensemble. Skid's easy way with swaying melodies such as “Dumisani” or “Sobabini” (a remake of a tune from The Call) is countered by the percussive intensity of “Olutalo,” whose multiple layers more than counter the gritty passion of Skid's soloing.