Live at the River East Arts Center

Released 2005
Kahil El'Zabar -
   Kalimba, Drums, Percussion

Ari Brown -
   Tenor Saxophone

Yosef Ben Israel -
   Bass

Billy Bang -
   Violin

 
Live at the Hothouse

Release 2000

Pharoah Sanders -
   Tenor Saxophone

Kahil El'Zabar -
   Drums, Percussion

Ari Brown -
   Soprano and Tenor Sax, Piano

Malachi Favors -
   Bass

Previously unreleased Live recording available exclusively on I-Tunes
Africa N'Da Blues
Africa N'Da Blues
Released 2000
Pharoah Sanders -
   Tenor Saxophone

Kahil El'Zabar -
   Drums, Percussion

Ari Brown -
   Soprano and Tenor Sax, Piano

Malachi Favors -
   Bass

Percussionist Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio has made some amazing music that has a rootsy, if avant-garde, take on everything within the jazz tradition--including the music's African roots. The band has recorded as a trio, but they are at their best when they ask a friend to join in, and Africa N'da Blues follows 1999's winning Conversations (with guest Archie Shepp) with tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders as the band's Y2K guest. With Brown on piano for most of the seven lengthy cuts, Africa has a classic quartet sound, but it's the performances that are truly landmark. Sanders sounds as robust here as he did in the 1960s, and with a trio this capable and outward-looking, his playing is the most adventurous it's been in years. El'Zabar pens most of the material, but there are also telling covers of Coltrane's "Miles Mode" and the standard "Autumn Leaves." --Tad Hendrickson, Amazon.com
Conversations

Released 1999
Archie Shepp -
   Tenor Sax, Piano on 3

Ari Brown -
   Piano, Tenor Sax on 3 & 6

Malachi Favors -
   Bass

Kahil El'Zabar -
   Drums

Conversations marks a relatively rare studio appearance and a first-time collaboration with the Ritual Trio by saxophonist Archie Shepp, a fabled instigator of the '60's avant-garde.  Prior to this album, Shepp has made only three recordings this decade and just one under his own name.  This album, a recording of unusual depth and spiritual power, celebrates the vitality and accomplishments of bassist Fred Hopkins who died weeks before this music was recorded and left an important legacy.  Perhaps it is that overriding concern with a fallen warrior that accounts for the saxist's piquant invocation of hidden spirits and faded aurae.
Jitterbug Junction
Jitterbug Junction
Released 1997
Kahil El'Zabar -
   African Drums, Drums, Thumb Piano

Ari Brown -
   Tenor and Soprano Saxophone

Malachi Favors -
   Bass

 
 
Big Cliff

Released 1995
Kahil El'Zabar -
   African Drums, Drums, Thumb Piano

Ari Brown -
   Tenor Saxophone, Piano

Malachi Favors -
   Bass

Billy Bang -
   Violin

Unique among the Ritual Trio's recording, Big Cliff brings together elements of past and present, and in doing so generates some of the most explosive music under this band's name.  With the guest appearance by Billy Bang on this album; there is a lineup that allows for two Ritual Trios (one built around saxophone and violin, the other featuring Ari Brown as pianist and casting the rhythm section in a more traditional light).  Recorded during the weekend of the 1994 Chicago Jazz Festival, in the most adventurous of the several club sessions that now constitute a far-flung "alternative festival," this performance marked the last occasion on which the late Clifton Blackburn - dedicatee of this album and the inspiration for two of its titles - heard the music made by his son, Kahil El'Zabar.
Renaissance of the Resistance

Released 1994
   
Magg Zelma

Released 1985

   
Sacred Love

Released 1985

Kahil El'Zabar -
   African Drums, Drums, Thumb Piano

Lester Bowie -
   Trumpet

Malachi Favors -
   Bass

Raphael Garrett -
   Bass

 

 

 

Album review of the Ritual Trio's newest album, Live at the River East Arts Center, from popmatters.com