Khota & Co

2018-11-22 06:01
Guitarist Reza Khota.

Guitarist Reza Khota.

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Guitarist Reza Khota returns with his quartet for the highly-anticipated launch of their second album, Liminal, at Guga S’thebe in Langa on Sunday.

Following a four-year-break since their debut release, Transmutation, the group dives into new musical territory that reflects the natural progression and growth of each band member.

Khota is bandleader and composer on guitar; Shane Cooper on bass, Fender Rhodes and synthesisers; Jonno Sweetman on drums and Buddy Wells on saxophone and flute.

These musicians share mutual respect, ease and chemistry based on years of performing together, but also a deep affinity for improvisation.

Musically, the album is filled with complex and highly textured compositions, which satisfy in moments of calm and tension.

Khota’s inspiration for the compositions shows his careful examination of the world around him, with an awareness of the in-between states we constantly find ourselves in.

Album opener Event Horizon refers to the boundary around a black hole from which no light can escape; the point of no return.

It alludes to the current state of the planet, enduring challenges such as global warming and extreme social injustice.

The idea of ‘liminality’ is highlighted throughout in the titles songs and in composition structures, such as Dialectic, built around a counterpoint between melodies that are in two different keys.

Diamond Mind is taken from the book by Rob Nairn of the same title and is a tribute to Rob’s teachings on meditation.

Delhi Haze was composed during a recent trip to India.

It reflects on Khota’s experience of pollution as a metaphor for the city’s complex history and the relentless challenges facing populous cities.

The album also has sonic nods to Nigerian artist/thinker Fela Kuti and Ethiopian jazz composer Mulatu Astatke. Closing with a four-movement collective improvisation titled Ghosts, the album’s final movement is a vigil for the ghosts of the Marikana miners, not at rest and haunting us as a society.

Over the last twenty years, Khota has established himself as a guitarist with far reaching abilities.

He is representative of the new wave of South African jazz musicians that dedicate themselves to the work of music as central to our collective well-being and to thinking through the questions of who we are in the post-apartheid.

New developments include being an artist-in-residence at the University of Western Cape’s Centre for Humanities Research.

Over the last three years he has collaborated with musicians from Toronto, India and Sweden. Aside from his own music, he features on upcoming recordings with Mandla Mlangeni’s TRC, Abraham Mennen, Jonathan Crossley and Jonno Sweetman.

He also recently performed at The Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesburg.

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