Babardah review, Paris Transatlantic, December 2004 (
Wow, what with Mop and Brpobr, we've certainly come up with some band names this month. A quartet this time, Babardah is Piotr Michalowski on saxophones and bass clarinet, Mike Khoury on violin, James Ilgenfritz on bass and Sarah Weaver on trombone, and the nine tracks, entitled "Peliczaple", "Nyicnyac", "Rathi", "Krvilak", "Tauton", "Rostador", "Raparossi", "Giuggio" and "Galumfuja" (does anyone out there remember the old BBC series Call My Bluff? Frank Muir and Denis Norden would have had a ball with this lot) were recorded in the slightly less exotically named (but culturally significant) city of Ann Arbor, Michigan in April 2004. Mike Khoury is also the éminence grise behind Entropy Records (whose reissue of Griot Galaxy's Live at the DIA was one of last year's indisputable highlights.. woe betide you if you didn't get your copy), which might go some way to explaining the free jazz inflections of much of Babardah's music. Khoury in particular sounds well-versed in the Leroy Jenkins back catalogue, and there's a terse, spunky attitude to Michalowski and Weaver's blowing beautifully backed up by Ilgenfritz's bass, which in a blind test I would probably have guessed as Sirone (assuming the violinist was Jenkins etc. etc. – remind me never to agree to do a real blind test). This is direct, open and strong free music, just the ticket if, like me, you want to restore your faith in the good people of the United States of America.--Dan Warburton